The Artistate team at the HeavyBuckStylez dance competition in Indonesia. Image Credit: Artistate Dance Academy
Diverse dance forms enrich our arts scene and cultural tapestry, fostering inclusivity and creativity. It celebrates the beauty of differences and promotes artistic exploration. A rising form of dance favoured by the youth of Singapore is street dance. It encompasses various styles, such as hip-hop, popping, locking, breaking, and krumping.
To prepare and propel students into the dance industry as dancers and for other roles, Artistate Dance Academy worked on an Overseas Exchange Programme with two groups of street dancers to represent Singapore at regional competitions and participate in masterclasses in 2019.
The National Arts Council (NAC) supports artists and organisations, to shine on the international stage and play important roles within the bustling creative economy. As part of Artistate’s Overseas Exchange Programme, the team joined hands with the likes of Hip-Fest Entertainment in Vietnam, Heavy Buckstylez Dance Studio, Urban Step Dance Studio and Forever Dance Centre in Indonesia, to represent Singapore at their dance competitions.
We speak with Jeremy Tan, the Director of Artistate Dance Academy, to find out more about the invaluable lessons learnt by the participants of the exchange programme and the importance of having a variety of dance styles in the local arts landscape.
The Artistate team at Jakarta, Indonesia as part of the Overseas Exchange Programme. Image Credit: Artistate Dance Academy
1. Tell us more about this project.
Street dance is influenced and derived from different countries and cultures. At Artistate Dance Academy, it is our aim to provide a holistic street dance education for our students to broaden their horizons in dance and the arts, which motivated us to set up the programme. It has always been our goal to expose our students to a wide variety of learning opportunities, and we genuinely believe an overseas experience is vital towards their growth.
The Artistate team at Surabaya, Indonesia, as part of the Overseas Exchange Programme. Image Credit: Artistate Dance Academy
2. How do you think street dance styles in Singapore add to the vibrancy and culture of our arts scene?
Street dance styles are important to the arts scene in Singapore as they are unique in the ways that they garner strong interest from the youth. Comprising less traditional genres, street dance styles are appealing in their own special way. Due to the ‘informal’ nature of these styles, dancers are able to express themselves freely without any restriction, and are able to let their creativity flourish.
3. What do you hope the young dancers took away from the programme?
For young artists to elevate their craft, it’s important to gain exposure and a worldview. We hope our students gained a detailed insight into different dance landscapes, and learnt more about their unique cultures, values and practices.
The Artistate X Workshop Participants performance featuring Jeremy's Intensive Workshop participants. Image Credit: Artistate Dance Academy
4. What were some tangible advancements you were able to make with NAC’s support?
With support from a grant by NAC, we managed to organise masterclasses for our students with renowned instructors from Indonesia and Thailand. Additionally, our students were also able to participate in collaborative performances with students from the regional dance studios we partnered with: Heavy Buckstylez Dance Studio, Urban Step Dance Studio and Forever Dance Centre.
5. What is one unforgettable memory you have while working on this project?
The look on our students’ faces when informed of their selection to be part of the Overseas Exchange Programme. The combination of shock and happiness was truly something we found hilarious yet heartwarming. It is also worth mentioning moments during the programme when we realised we have so much in common with other parts of the world through this exchange programme. We truly valued the opportunity to come together despite our differences.
Learn about the Council’s efforts to support the growth of the arts scene at: https://www.nac.gov.sg/support/funding-and-schemes