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Navigating Rooms: The Dance Film Illuminating a Dancer's Professional Odyssey at Cinedans FEST—Cinemovement

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 Image Credit: Cinemovement 



Dance, a powerful storyteller, unveils essential human narratives through movement and expression. Filmmaking serves as a conduit, transcending borders, enabling the universal language of dance to captivate and resonate with diverse audiences, fostering cross-cultural connections and a shared appreciation for the art form's beauty. 

The inception of the dance film, titled ‘Rooms’, resulted from a deep passion towards the visual storytelling of Albert Tiong’s illustrious career as choreographer and performer —from creating works for organisations like Frontier Danceland and T.H.E Dance Company, and being a professional dancer with Taiwan's Cloud Gate Dance Theatre. ‘Rooms’ was commissioned by Esplanade as part of Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts 2021's programme, Dance en Scene. 

The National Arts Council (NAC) recognises that our arts ecosystem is powered by artistic talent, excellence, and innovation as part of the thriving creative economy. Thus, it supports artists and organisations to tap into opportunities for international exposure to build Singapore's reputation as a creative centre. Following the local premiere, ‘Rooms’ toured the festival circuit, including Cinedans FEST 2022 in Amsterdam—featuring 165 films from 79 countries— under the themes of connection, innovation and polyphony.  

We speak with Elysa Wendi, the co-founder of Cinemovement, about Cinemovement's practice, the importance of filmmaking and what young filmmakers need to know before stepping into the industry. 


An excerpt of ‘Rooms’ featured in marketing collateral as part of Cinedans FEST. Image credit: Elysa Wendi 


A still from the dance film by Cinemovement, titled ‘Rooms’—featuring Singaporean dancer Albert Tiong. Image Credit: Cinemovement 


A still from the dance film by Cinemovement, titled ‘Rooms’—featuring Singaporean dancer Albert Tiong. Image Credit: Cinemovement 


A still from the dance film by Cinemovement, titled ‘Rooms’—featuring Singaporean dancer Albert Tiong. Image Credit: Cinemovement 


1. Tell us more about this project.  

Rooms was initiated and commissioned by Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts, Esplanade -  Theatres on the Bay to uncover Singaporean contemporary dancer, Albert Tiong's life in film. For over three decades,  Albert worked towards his goal of being an eminent  dancer, choreographer and educator—we hoped to uncover an unseen personal aspect of his journey.  

After the premiere of the film at the Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts in 2021, the film was screened in many dance and art film festivals, including Le FIFA Montreal Art House Film Festival, Movimiento En Movimiento México, Cinedans Amsterdam and Dance for Camera New York, to name a few. 

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

To understand this Singaporean dance artist's practice, story and essence through our film on him. We hope people who saw the film will catch a glimpse of Albert beyond his body of work, to see his life and philosophy. 



The Cinedans FEST 2022 featured 165 films from 79 countries, including ‘Rooms’ by Cinemovement. Image Credit: Elysa Wendi 


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

The in-person participation in the international festival circuit was truly made possible by the grant support. Our name as dance filmmakers was circulated in international scenes, and the platform of Cinemovement was also introduced. The grant allowed us to participate in the International Dance Film Festival to showcase our film, the artist and his works, and to network for further distribution of the film. We also had opportunities to see different dance films on the international stage.   

4. How can young (dance) filmmakers in Singapore sharpen their craft and take it to new heights? 

I think filmmakers who are interested in making dance films should get more exposure to each other's discipline through conversation, hands-on experience and watching each other's works to generate more knowledge about the discipline or language and aesthetics of the film or the dance form. I encourage such collaboration and exploration before making your own dance film.  

Rooms default film still


Stills from the dance film by Cinemovement, titled ‘Rooms’—featuring Singaporean dancer Albert Tiong. Image Credit: Cinemovement 


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

It would be the early discussion stage with Albert Tiong. Albert is a very reserved person, so it took a while for us to dive deeper into his stories. This process of excavating someone's memories and stories is truly memorable for us.  


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