Singapore Arts Festival 2006 Opening Gala Performance - Quest



Gala Performance of Singapore Arts Festival 2006


On 1 June 2006, the gala performance of this year’s Singapore Arts Festival will kick off an exciting programme of arts events stretching up till 25 June 2006.  The red carpet event features the world premiere of Quest, the first-ever large-scale collaboration between the Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT) and the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) - two of the leading arts companies in Singapore.


VIPs attending the Festival Gala Performance include the President of the Republic of Singapore, Mr S R Nathan; Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Dr Lee Boon Yang; Minister for Education, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam; Permanent Secretaries, Ambassadors of foreign embassies, Members of Parliament, Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers of statutory boards, sponsors and members of the arts community.


The production adds to the Festival’s growing list of groundbreaking collaborations born of its commitment to encourage the development of new work. This Festival commission has been invited to perform in the Seoul International Dance Festival in October this year, even before it premieres at the Gala opening of the Singapore Arts Festival 2006. The collaboration also marks the actualisation of a long-held dream by these two arts companies to join hands in a major production. As Tsung Yeh, Music Director of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra described, “(For the) first time in history, the SCO and SDT are together in search of our common artistic destiny.”


A rare collaboration between contemporary dance and Chinese orchestral music, Questfeatures new contemporary works by three outstanding Asian choreographers, Kim Eun Hee (Korea), Gao Yan Jin Zi (China), and Jeffrey Tan (Singapore). Drawing inspiration from major contemporary Chinese musical works, the choreographers will present dance pieces to the music of a live Chinese orchestra. Said Artistic Director of SDT, Goh Soo Khim, “This has been one of the most challenging contemporary seasons for SDT. The three works are very different in their choreographic concept and structure and have provided a platform to stimulate our dancers’ physical and emotional limits.”


For the choreographers, emotions evoked by the music were central to their creative process. Resident Artist of Beijing Modern Dance Company, Gao Yan Jin Zi said she conceptualised her dance piece, INTO, based on “gan jue” or feeling. Music for her work is from composer Dr Chan Hing-yan’s Illusions (Jing Hua Shui Yue), which was written for prepared piano and an ensemble of Chinese instruments. Through movement and use of mirror imagery, Gao explores man’s struggle to break free from the transient nature of existence.


In The Path, The Illusion, Kim Eun Hee, choreographer and Artistic Director of the Kim Eun Hee Dance Company, depicts the human will in a journey down a path shrouded in mystery and fraught with challenges. Performed to music from Fire Ritual, the huqinconcerto by Tan Dun, this dance piece translates Kim’s emotions into breaths and movements.


The third piece in this triple bill is F.U.S.E by SDT’s Resident Choreographer, Jeffrey Tan. In this work, Tan considers the relationship between mankind and nature through ritual folk songs re-worked by composer Tang Jian Ping. Tang’s work Hou Tu  complements the dance with its rich tribal instrumentation. Tan, who will also be performing in Gao and Kim’s pieces, is seeking to communicate the high level of energy of his own choreography to audiences.


Delighted by the new dance dimensions that Gao, Kim and Tan have created for this collaboration, Yeh said he was looking forward to conducting Quest. “Together with the choreographers, we selected some of the very best contemporary Chinese orchestral music ever written. In these three pieces, Tan Dun, Tang Jian Ping and Chan Hing-yan had bravely pushed beyond the traditional limit in all the aspects of sonority, rhythm, texture and structure for Chinese orchestral music,” said Yeh.


Through three distinctive choreographic languages and three deeply moving musical works, SDT and SCO jointly present a new world of visuals and sounds, and invite audiences to experience a journey in the quest for human ideals.


Please refer to the attached annexes for more information:


  •  Programme
  • Synopsis
  • Profiles of Choreographers
  • Profile of Artistic Director (SDT) & Music Director (SCO) 
  • Profiles of Singapore Dance Theatre & Singapore Chinese Orchestra
  • Credits 
  • Media Reply Slip