5 Groups Embracing Dance in Singapore!

It is a known fact that there are countless dance forms in the world. However, just in Singapore alone, there are multiple dance groups that celebrate the beauty of dance in various expressions. All differ completely from each other but are beautiful and distinct in their own ways. Enjoy them, join them or even stalk them! 

Here are 5 groups that embrace dance in Singapore! 

1. Teng Yang Dragon & Lion Dance Centre – Lion Dance

Mimicking a lion’s movements in a lion costume, Lion Dance is always a joy to watch for its impressive stunts and energetic clangs. Lion Dance is best known for bringing good luck and fortune and is regularly performed in weddings, corporate and community events and during Chinese New Year periods.

Teng Yang Dragon & Lion Dance Centre, established in 2005 was founded Mr Kelvin Ng who had a strong passion to keep the traditional cultural spirit alive. He was also closely supported by Mr George Yeo, former Minister of Home Affairs. One awesome fact about Teng Yan Dragon & Lion Centre is that they’re greatly inclusive and have at least two Indian members in many of their performances, who also dazzle alongside their Chinese counterparts!

Teng Yang group including other races in Lion Dance performance.
Image credit: Mothership.sg

2. Era Dance Theatre Ltd – Zapin

Zapin, an elegant form of traditional Malay dance, comprises of beautiful melodies and exuberant dancing, accompanied by purposeful vocals. Furthermore, it also boasts strong, cultural heritage such as the unique form of traditional silat and traditional crafts like the marwas (drums), selodang (oud) and even the wau (kite).

Era Dance Theatre performing Zapin at Esplanade Outdoor Stage
Image credit: Era Dance Theatre Ltd

Era Dance Theatre are masters at showcasing this art form. Committed to advancing the art of Malay culture through music, dance and theatre, Era Dance Theatre display maximum dedication in every single one of their Zapin performances. Once a year, they even hold the Muara Festival, a regional Malay dance and music festival that promotes the exchange of performance repertoire between participating groups. 

3. Apsaras Arts – Bharatanatyam

Bharatanatyam is a form of classical Indian dance, a ‘physical expression that centres on displaying the divine or spiritual aspects through the body’ and is believed by many Hindus to have a divine origin. This articulate dance form is also considered the most ancient form of classical Indian dance, as well as one of the most popular.

Apsaras Arts, one of the premier professional performing companies that teaches/performs Bharatanatyam, has gained recognition from Indian dance theatres on an international level, enjoying successful performances in Singapore and abroad. They have a holistic program for Bharatanatyam and even provide classes for kids starting from the age of 4! 

Apsaras Arts performing Bharatanatyam.
Image credit: Apsaras Arts

4. Bhangre De Sitare (BDS) – Bhangra

One of the most highly entertaining dance forms on the list. Bhangra, originated from Punjab, is a dance of enthusiasm and gaiety, where there is a mixture of joyful singing and the vibrant beat of a single drum (dhol). The bizarre stunts of Bhangra are what keeps the audience glued to this dance form whenever it makes an appearance!

Bhangre De Sitare's bhangra group posing with the dhol.
Image credit: Bhangre De Sitare

Bhangre De Sitare (BDS), which literally means “Stars of Bhangra”, is one of the finest Bhangra associations in Singapore. Like Teng Yang Dragon & Lion Dance Centre, BDS is very inclusive and have traditional Malay and Chinese dancers presenting colourful dance performances, demonstrating the best parts of Singapore’s diverse multi-cultural society. 

5. Dance Ensemble Singapore – Chinese Dance

Built on profound traditional aesthetics and enhanced over thousands of years into a comprehensive system, Chinese dance has evolved into one of the most vigorous and expressive art forms in the world today.

Dance Ensemble Singapore aims to preserve and promote Chinese culture and aspires to develop a distinctive identity in the local arts scene.  With the upholding of rich, Chinese culture in mind, Dance Ensemble Singapore’s performing styles incorporate the fluidity of Chinese classical dance and the swift dynamism of the Wushu technique.

Dance Ensemble Singapore performing in Chinatown for the year of the pig.
Image credit: The Straits Times

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