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Exploring new frontiers in classical ballet with the National Contemporary Ballet —Amalgamation

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Image Credit: National Contemporary Ballet 



Singapore’s diverse dance panorama amplifies the local arts, fostering cultural richness and inclusivity. It introduces varied art forms, connecting people through diverse expressions. Traditional ballet, steeped in history and grace, remains a cornerstone of dance. Its disciplined technique, storytelling capacity, and timeless elegance continue to captivate audiences worldwide, embodying classical artistry.

To showcase that ballet can be contemporary, relevant and inclusive, the National Contemporary Ballet staged ‘Amalgamation’—a project that combines the grit and physicality of contemporary dance with the lines and gracefulness of classical ballet. This marked the company’s first-ever production that focused on the virtuosity and technical abilities of the 14 dancers who were shortlisted for the performance.

Through a wide range of support schemes, the National Arts Council (NAC) empowers artists and organisations to innovate and experiment, vitalising their roles in the vibrant creative economy. Through the Council’s support, ‘Amalgamation’ brought together young and emerging artists skilled in both contemporary and ballet techniques to hone their craft in this specific movement style.

We speak with Jeffrey Tan, the artistic director of the National Contemporary Ballet, to uncover the motivations and inspiration behind ‘Amalgamation’ and how the support from NAC unlocked a wider audience and newfound appreciation for the art form.  

1. Beryl Tay, Edina Handali and Eurie Lascano

L-R: Beryl Tay, Edina Handali and Eurie Lascano - performers in ‘Amalgamation’. Image Credit: National Contemporary Ballet  



1. Tell us more about this project.  

The inspiration for ‘Amalgamation’ came from our desire to push the boundaries of traditional ballet and explore new ways to express movement. We wanted to create a piece that blended contemporary dance with elements of classical ballet, creating a unique and dynamic experience for both dancers and audiences.  

2. What is a key takeaway you hope people took away from the performance?

Our main goal with ‘Amalgamation; was to challenge preconceived notions of what ballet can be. I wanted to showcase that ballet can be innovative, inclusive, and relevant to contemporary audiences. I hope people left the performance with a newfound appreciation for ballet's versatility and artistic potential.

3. How did the idea of rethinking traditional ballet through this performance come about? 

Reviewing classical ballet stemmed from a desire to evolve as artists and explore new possibilities within the art form. I wanted to break free from the constraints of conventional ballet and experiment with different movement vocabulary techniques and music. This allowed me to create a more dynamic and engaging experience for performers and spectators.  

2. Kelly Ng, Supatchai Lappakornkul and Wong Ting Wei

L-R: Kelly Ng, Supatchai Lappakornkul and Wong Ting Wei - performers in ‘Amalgamation’.  Image Credit: National Contemporary Ballet  


4. What were some tangible advancements you were able to make with NAC’s support?  

The grant from NAC provided us with the resources and financial support necessary to bring our project to life. NAC's platform and network helped us connect with a broader audience and establish meaningful collaborations within the dance community. We invested in high-quality production elements, such as stage design, lighting, and costumes, which elevated Amalgamation's overall visual and aesthetic experience. Additionally, the grant allowed us to reach a wider audience through marketing and promotional efforts. 

5. What is one unforgettable memory you have while working on this project?     

One unforgettable memory from working on ‘Amalgamation’ was premiering the piece to a packed theatre. The energy in the room was electric, and seeing the audience's positive response and emotional connection to the performance was incredibly gratifying. It reaffirmed our belief in the power of art to touch and inspire people.  

Learn about the Council’s efforts to support the growth of the arts scene at: