What went down at Singapore Dance Theatre’s recent Virtual Fundraiser


Stages all over the world may have gone dark for months, but the shows, thankfully, go on.

In fact, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the novel digital initiatives theatre-makers are putting online. On top of streaming live, archival and pre-recorded performances, there are also Zoom meets, podcasts, videos, and virtual tours to engage audiences from everywhere.

Amidst the plethora (no, we don’t use this word casually) of stopgap offerings, it’s easy to forget that the theatre industry, which largely depends on people gathering in a room to watch live performances, is still deep in the trenches of the pandemic. Even when venues open their doors again, social distancing measures will affect both rehearsals and attendance of upcoming stagings.

So it’s encouraging to see over 200 patrons of the dance community coming together for Singapore Dance Theatre’s first-ever Virtual Fundraiser. To minimise Zoom fatigue, the online event, hosted by local personality Hossan Leong, is kept within 30 minutes — but the programme is far from basic, what with three beautiful performances and thoughtful addresses by Guest-of Honour Grace Fu, Laura Hwang, chairperson of SDT, and Dr. Tony Tan.

Guests were treated that evening to excerpts of the hip-hop inspired Swipe by Val Caniparoli, which was originally created and premiered in 2011 for Richmond Ballet, as well as the world premiere of Celebration, choreographed by Janek Schergen and performed by dancers of SDT. The latter is a compilation of three routines from Alexander Glazunov’s ballet Raymonda, to highlight the group’s identity through 32 years in Singapore. Besides dance, homegrown violinist Lynette Seah captivated the crowd with a music presentation of Méditation (Thaïs) by Jules Massenet.

Relive the night through the gallery below:

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