~ by Melissa Tan ~

For the 17th season of Ballet Under the Stars, Singapore Dance Theatre once again brought to the stage, a touch of magic and grace. Performed to a sold-out Saturday crowd last weekend, Singapore’s favourite outdoor dance event comprised a medley of four inspiring and exquisite works across both contemporary and classical dance forms.

Fort Canning Green was teeming with excited chatter from the audience as they lay out their picnic mats and delectable food baskets, in anticipation of the main performance by Singapore Dance Theatre.

An event perfect for family and friends, Ballet Under the Stars saw children frisking about the lawn in ballerina costumes as adults mingled and exchanged laughter with friends.

Artistic Director Janek Schergen commented, “Ballet Under the Stars provides something for everyone, which translates to both classical and contemporary pieces. Also, we bring in good works that are appropriate for our audience which will add value to our repertoire in the future.”

Paquita (photo courtesy of Justin Koh)
Janek Schergen did a new staging of Paquita, which is a classical ballet of great style and character. Principal dancer Rosa Park who performed the title role, delighted the crowd in the grand coda with a steady streak of 32 fouettes (turns on pointe), exhibiting her strength, stamina and outstanding technique.

This piece also featured two Singaporean dancers in the pas de trois – Elaine Heng and Chua Bi Ru both of whom looked stunning alongside Etienne Ferrère who displayed effortless leaps and jumps.

ZIN! (photo courtesy of Justin Koh)
Following the success of his Fearful Symmetries performed by SDT last year, Nils Christe returned this year with ZIN!, a company premiere for SDT and Organ Concerto, a world premiere.  ZIN! was a crowd favourite, teasing chuckles from the audience with its fun and cheeky choreography. Performed to the music of Serra Pelada by Philip Glass, it featured a cast of seven dancers in upbeat cannon.

Organ Concerto (photo courtesy of Justin Koh)
Organ Concerto on the other hand, was a more sophisticated piece, featuring a large ensemble of twelve pairs of dancers. Fraught with dramatic movements, and interlaced with graceful and seemingly mysterious segments, this piece mirrored its striking score by Francis Poulenc, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.

Jabula (photo courtesy of Justin Koh)
True to its translated meaning of “joy”, Jabula ended the evening with bursts of warm colour and a vibrant cast, evoking nostalgia among the audience of childhood days spent watching The Lion King.

Choreographed by Natalie Weir and set to a syncopated choral and percussive score, Jabula showcased the dancers’ atheletism and energy. The highlight of the show was the unfolding of the love story danced beautifully by Timothy Coleman and Nonoko Tanaka.

One can only describe it as a true celebration of dance and love, leaving a strange but comforting tugging at the heartstrings.

Indeed Ballet Under the Stars was a night to remember, both for the brilliant choreography and the joy and passion that the dancers exuded. Singapore Dance Theatre continues to shine on stage as its silver anniversary draws near.

TOC thanks Melissa for her contribution. Melissa Tan is the Publicity and Advertising Executive of Singapore Dance Theatre Limited.