History of Malay Dance In Singapore (2019)

Principal Investigators: Mr Muhammad Fazli Taib Bin Saearani and Mr Azrin Abdul Rahim


This article provides an overview of the history of Malay dance in Singapore from Pre-World War II to the 2010s. It addresses the dance genres the local scene engages with, cultural influences on Malay dance and the cultural identity of Malay dance in Singapore vis-à-vis contemporary developments. Apart from a literature review, the study was informed by interviews with 13 practitioners and figures in the Malay dance scene, as well as observations from a forum on Malay dance. 


The process of institutionalization of Chinese dance in Singapore, 1980s–1990s (2018)

Principal Investigator: Dr Joey Chua


This study articulates the development of Singapore Chinese dance in the 1980s– 1990s using Bourdieu’s conceptual tools of cultural, economic, social, and symbolic capitals. It explores how the Chinese dance community—artists and intellectuals—had appropriated capitals in the process of institutionalization in dance. While the 1960s–1970s are characterized by the mode of creating a hybrid multi-racial dance, the 1980s–1990s are about preserving ethnic Chinese dance.


The emergence of Chinese dance in post-colonial Singapore, 1960s–1970s (2017)

Principal Investigator: Dr Joey Chua


The pioneer generation of amateur Chinese dancers in the People’s Association Dance Company and the National Dance Company marked the emergence of Singapore Chinese dance in the public sphere during the 1960s–1970s. Relying mainly on primary sources, the development of Singapore Chinese dance shows how Chinese dance as a hybrid cultural form is constituted through the actions of the ruling elite and individual efforts. The rise of amateur Chinese dance can be seen as an outcome of the effect of a politicized node of fusion and interaction. Discussion focuses on three aspects of the development: (1) a cultural policy that served the ideology of nation building, (2) the lack of state funding for dance, and (3) the slow accumulation of cultural capital by dance practitioners.


The Authenticity of Chinese dance in Singapore, 2000–2012 (2017)

Principal Investigator: Dr Joey Chua


This study examines how two dance companies, the Dance Ensemble Singapore and Hokkien Huay Kuan Dance Theatre, with the support of private funders, appropriated high level of cultural capital and authenticated their own distinctive style of Singapore Chinese dance. Relying mainly on primary sources—press materials and dance programs, I analyse how the discourses of Singapore Chinese dance has perceived itself as a fusion of contemporary, wushu, Teochew opera, and ethnic Chinese dance.


Quantitative Acoustic Data Collection & Qualitative Feedback Gathering of Modernized Chinese Musical Instruments (Bamboo Flute & Erhu) Based on Theobald Boehm Principle of Open Pipe and Science of Acoustic Material / 竹笛与二胡制作声学设计及声量测试概述 (2017) (Publication in Mandarin)

Principal Investigator: Mr Ng Teck Seng (黄德成)


Despite the long history and development of Chinese musical instruments, acoustic design has been a barrier to their suitability as ensemble instruments. It is proposed that pitch and timbral precision would be a step towards better harmonisation between different orchestra sections and a sense of uniformity in instrument temperament within the ensemble.


Focusing on the bamboo flute (dizi) and erhu, this study considers how design, construction and dimensions affect various acoustic characteristics of the instruments, and how these can be improved to resolve common problems faced by players, such as over-blowing of the dizi, as well as timbral control and pitch stability of the erhu.


Good Chance, Hor Chim Or (2017) / 好彩,侯深湖 (Publication in Mandarin and English)

Principal Investigator: Mr Shen Jihua (沈继华)

Translator: Mr Edward Seah (谢佳鸣)


This biography documents the experiences of Mr Hor Chim Or, one of the pioneer Peking Opera practitioners in Singapore, including his endeavours in the arts, sports and business.


Odissi Documentation Project (2016)

Principal Investigator: Mr Kiran Kumar


This praxeological study of Odissi as practiced at Chowk Centre for Dance in Singapore serves to both expound current practice as well as create suggestions for a future direction of Odissi training. While the focus of this project is decidedly on rhythm in Odissi, the observation of structure in dance-making towards the embodiment of rhythm by the practitioner has necessarily taken a more holistic approach. Apart from qualitative research, this study was informed by knowledge from related fields of sports medicine, yoga and music to inform the present focus of embodying rhythm in dance.


Physical and mental preparation are proposed as a primary layer of structure for the dance practitioner. Aesthetic considerations in dance-making are operative at the secondary and tertiary layers of structure which I have described as ‘inhabiting shape’ and ‘relational articulation of form’. A further, more complex aesthetic layer of structure is the system of rhythm as shared between dance and music in the South Asian traditions.


Pictorial History of Teochew Opera in Singapore / 潮声留影 (2016) (Publication in Mandarin)

Principal Investigator: Mr Su Zhangkai (苏章恺)


Teochew opera was developed from Southern Opera (nanxi) and its origins can be traced back to the Ming Dynasty. It was introduced to other parts of the world including to Singapore through early Chinese immigrants and there have been records of this artform in Singapore as early as 1887. In Singapore, its heyday in the early 1900s saw the establishment of many local Teochew Opera troupes and amateur groups. Teochew Opera movies enabled the traditional performing art to continue flourishing up till the early 1960s. However, the availability of other forms of entertainment subsequently diminished the popularity and practice of Teochew Opera.


This publication is a collection of print artefacts, including performance flyers, opera manuscripts, record covers, advertisements, souvenir magazines documenting the heritage of Teochew Opera in Singapore.