An Interview with Timothy Wan
Wednesday, 08 Apr 2015

Cast member of The Tempest by Singapore Repertory Theatre

For this year’s edition of Shakespeare in the Park, Singapore Repertory Theatre presents The Tempest. Widely regarded as Shakespeare’s final play, The Tempest tells of Prospero’s quest to restore himself to power after his throne is usurped by his brother Antonio. Encompassing tricks, sorcery and a raging tempest, Prospero’s schemes also result in a budding romance between his daughter Miranda and Ferdinand, the prince of Naples.

Timothy Wan, who will be playing Ferdinand in this exciting production, shares his experience. An alumnus of NUS’ Theatre Studies Programme, Timothy graduated with Honours in 2013 and has been actively involved in the local theatre scene since. A multitalented actor, singer and musician, he most recently starred in street opera play Titoudao as the scholar Ti Boon Long. Timothy’s other stage credits include: Army Daze, Glass Anatomy 搭错车, High Class, Red Riding Hood, Firecrackers & Bombshells, Romeo & Juliet: The Musical, Hansel & Gretel, The Nightingale (English & Mandarin productions), and Junior Claus.

1. What do you look forward to most playing Ferdinand in The Tempest?

I actually studied The Tempest as part of a Literature module in NUS! The Tempest has always intrigued me because of the sense of magic and mystery surrounding the events that happen on the island. Getting to actually live in the shoes of one of the characters I can only remember reading about in a book so far, and putting the words on the script into action, is definitely the most exciting thing. I'm looking forward to working with some of the best names in the local theatre industry, as well as an amazing cast and director from the UK as well.

Tags : theatre interview

Awardwinning Guitarist-Inventor to perform with NUS Guitar Ensemble
Wednesday, 11 Mar 2015

On 14 March, Reverb by NUS Guitar Ensemble (GENUS) will celebrate classical guitar music in its various delightful forms: traditional, Niibori guitar orchestra, and even… microtonal.

Inventor of the Adjustable Microtonal Guitar, Dr Tolgahan Çoğulu (Turkey) was awarded first prize in 2014 at the prestigious Margaret Guthman Musical Instruments Competition for his creation. In this unique guitar, all the frets on the fretboard are movable in the channels under each string. Additionally, any number of frets can be inserted into or removed from the fretboard.

Praising Çoğulu’s creation, GENUS’ Music Director and prominent local composer Dr Robert Casteels said: “All too often, microtones are glossed over or eliminated by equal temperament [whereas] Çoğulu’s guitar enables a player to play microtones effortlessly and accurately.”

Tags : NUS Guitar Ensemble Niibori Guitar

Festival Diary Entry 4 - Exploring Smartphone Addiction Through Dance
Thursday, 05 Mar 2015

21 Feb 2015
8 – 9.30pm

It’s the third day of the Chinese Lunar New Year and Ricky Hu and the dancers of Overdrive II, Look Up, are preparing for their first preview at the University Cultural Centre Dance Studio. The ensemble dancers are being coached by Ricky and Mingzhi, the rehearsal mistress, while a solo dancer is being guided by Jingwen, assistant choreographer. Thanks to their hard work, the choreography of the piece is near completion and the dancers are already practicing on props.

Exploring smartphone addiction, Look Up incorporates the spoken word with music ranging from pounding industrial metal to classical. The dancers’ precise synchronicity came well together, arching fluidly towards a dynamic ensemble segment before smoothing out into more introspective solo tableaus. Their nimble and slick movements reflect the hours of practice invested.


Tags : Festival Diary Dance NUS Arts Festival Rehearsal Outdoor

Living Life in Colour and Dancing Our Hearts Out
Tuesday, 03 Mar 2015

A group shot after the final masterclass with Kate Willis, Hip Hop instructor from Danz People  

Over the past few months from October to December, members of NUS Dance Synergy honed their skills in over 14 masterclasses taught by local and overseas guest instructors at various dance event from a dance camp to tri-university get-togethers.


Held on 25 October 2014, Parallel was a tri-university event aimed at increasing interaction among dancers from the various Singapore universities. The participants who shared a common love of dance included members of NUS Dance Synergy, NUS Dance Ensemble, SIM DanceArt, NTU Contempinated and SMU Indancity.

The event kick-started with a masterclass by Albert Tiong, NUS Dance Synergy’s Technique Tutor. Known for his physically and mentally challenging masterclasses, Albert did not disappoint; not only did he deliver advanced routines; he even increased the difficulty towards the end. The bar was set high, and a masterclass by Marcus Foo, NTU Contempinated’s Technique Tutor, followed. Pitched at an advanced level, the class began with long but useful warm-ups and dynamic across-the-floor routines. With a style of movement that contrasted greatly to that of Albert’s, Marcus ended his class with a short choreography to the song Latch by Sam Smith which was well received by many dancers.

The last class of the day was by SIM DanceArt’s Technique Tutor, Peter Teo. Giving dancers a taste of jazz technique, Peter quickly went through basic to advanced techniques of jazz. After which, he taught a short but enjoyable basic jazz routine where attitude and expression were emphasised.

Parallel was indeed an eye-opening experience where new friendships were forged among dance enthusiasts.

Tags : NUS Dance Synergy Camp Workshop Masterclass

Festival Diary Entry 3 - Tenderly Weaving Together Words and (Jazz) Music
Wednesday, 04 Feb 2015

Preparations for Festival Opening Show are in full swing! Words and Music: A Love Story Told in Jazz gathers a constellation of directors, musicians, composers and actors. Recently joining the stellar creative team of Jeremy Monteiro (Music Director) and Wang Liansheng (Scriptwriter) are Chok Kerong as music arranger, Tan Shou Chen as theatrical director, and cast Shafiqhah Efandi and Bright Ong.

Words and Music revolves around strait-laced and studious Fong who chooses the safe path of a university education and career as a teacher, and Shen, who despite being the daughter of a highly respected academic, decides to daringly purse her dreams. Their words to each other over the years and across continents, along with the musical numbers in the show, map out their different paths in life as they encounter hardships, dilemmas and triumphs.

Tags : Festival Diary Music NUS Arts Festival Workshop NUS Jazz Band

Festival Diary Entry 2 -
A Front Row Seat Behind the Scenes to Chair!

Wednesday, 28 Jan 2015

Wed 14 Jan 2015

This entry is about the creative process of Chair by Desmond Sim with NUS Talents, one of two theatre offerings at the Festival this year. Inspired by Desmond’s Chair, Chair is an ambitious immigrant epic spanning 5 generations in a family tree, witnessed by a beautiful, old antique chair.

Over October and November last year, Desmond led four writing workshops at the NUS Baba House for four selected writers: Jenny Ganeshrays, a Year 3 undergrad studying English Literature and Political Science, Goh Koon Hui, a Year 4+ double major in from Theatre Studies and Literature, Joyan Tan, a first year student at Yale-NUS College and Vanessa Ronald, first year at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Similar to her fellow writers in the project, Jenny found that working with Desmond has been “nothing short of inspiring… both a workshop and a round-table conversation” with plenty of real life examples.

When asked why they joined this programme, answers were varied. For Vanessa, who has no prior experience in playwriting, building a narrative using mainly dialogue seemed an intriguing challenge. To Koon Hui, who directed his first major production, PlayOut, at the Festival last year, the chance to work with industry practitioners and create site-specific works was the key draw.

Tags : Festival Diary Theatre Dance NUS Arts Festival Rehearsal Workshop NUS Baba House

An Interview with Selma Alkaff
Thursday, 22 Jan 2015

Cast member of Circle Mirror Transformation by Pangdemonium

Directed by Tracie Pang, Pangdemonium’s first play of 2015, Circle Mirror Transformation, sees an unlikely group of strangers sign up for an acting class. In real life, the five actors in the play are anything but.

Led by “earth mother” Marty (Neo Swee Lin), beautiful, disillusioned actress Theresa (Nikki Muller), shy divorcee Shultz (Adrian Pang), moody teenager Lauren (Selma Alkaff), and gregarious, gung-ho James (Daniel Jenkins) experience how a fun acting class blurs into their private lives, revealing jaw-dropping secrets and transforming them forever.

We speak with 19 year old Selma Alkaff who will be making her professional debut alongside four theatre veterans in this comedy. Of Arab and Swedish descent, with Malay as her second language, Selma recently graduated from SOTA last year, completing the International Baccalaureate programme at School of the Arts Singapore (SOTA).

Selma started theatre in Primary 1 with the drama club, and outside of school, Selma participated in SRT the Little Company’s Write Stuff competition (2008) where her original play came in 3rd place. She also participated in Drama Box’s Project Mending Sky: US (2012). Circle Mirror Transformation is Selma’s first professional theatre production since graduation.

1. You will be playing Lauren, a moody teenager and highschool misfit in Circle Mirror Transformation. Did you draw upon any personal experiences when preparing for this role?

No not really! I was never a moody 16 year old! I had to take inspiration from other people…

2. Circle Mirror Transformation is your first professional theatre production but you have had experiences with theatre as a student, through productions with Drama Box and Singapore Repertory Theatre.
How is the Circle Mirror Transformation experience different from your earlier experiences?

The performance I did with Drama Box was an audience interactive piece and involved a bit of physical theatre. It was set in a forest! In Drama Box’s Project Mending Sky, the rehearsal process was more experimental and we spent a lot of time exploring our physicality and different ways to interact with the space. Circle Mirror Transformation is a naturalistic play instead.

Tags : Theatre

Festival Diary - Entry 1: Stepping into Overdrive II
Tuesday, 06 Jan 2015

Mon 29 Dec 2014, 7 – 10pm

As the 2014 drew to a close, the artistic preparations for NUS Arts Fest stepped into overdrive. Earlier in March 2014, Overdrive overseas choreos Akiko Kitamura (Japan) and Idan Cohen (Israel) created two new works for our student-dancers. It seemed only a short while ago and now we are auditioning for Overdrive II.

Hailing from Hong Kong, 28 year-old Ricky Hu is part of The Hong Kong Ballet and winner of the 2012 Hong Kong Arts Development Award for Young Artist (Dance). His audition at UTown’s Dance Atelier 1 drew 17 participants.

Ricky guided the 17 participants through a short but complex choreography, providing timely advice and quick demonstrations.

Exploring the theme of smartphone addiction, Ricky devoted part of the audition to having dancers create their own short movements on the topic and sharing the inspirations behind their 15-sec choreographies. The interpretations that emerged showed how pervasive, familiar and physical smartphone addiction could be – the game-playing, the constant checking for news and updates, salivating over food photos, dodging obstacles while glued to the mobile screen, the battle between wanting to cut back and the fear of being disconnected.

With the help of his assistant, Mai Jingwen and rehearsal mistress Lim Ming Zhi from Re:Dance Theatre, Ricky and the eight selected dancers jumped right away into the choreography, assembling and disassembling movements like a 3D moving human puzzle. Some movements created earlier by the dancers were incorporated seamlessly with Ricky’s own vision. The process was intensely collaborative and physically demanding as everyone memorised and repeated movements again and again, with small tweaks in between. Music and rhythm blended into one endless stream before the session ended. But there is still much to complete before March. 

Tags : Festival Diary Dance NUS Arts Festival Rehearsal

Exploring Our Boxed-In World
Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014

An Interview with Dapheny Chen

As part of the ExxonMobil Campus Concerts (EMCC), Dapheny Chen will showcase her original work, ‘A Box Full of .This’, which was first presented at Co:Lab 2014 by Re:Dance Theatre. Collaborating with set designer Tan Wee Gene, Dapheny’s work strikes a resounding chord with all who are familiar with the often claustrophobic confines of daily life in Singapore today. Catch the performance of ‘A Box Full of .This’ on 28 January 2015, 8pm, at the University Cultural Centre Theatre.

Dapheny is a founding member, manager and artist at local contemporary dance company, Re:Dance Theatre. A graduate of the Diploma in Dance programme from LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, she has more than 10 years of performing experience on the local and international stages. Most recently, her choreographic works have been presented at ‘Dancers’ Locker’ 2011, ‘Leap’ 2011 and ‘Co:Lab’ 2013. Dapheny is currently an active performer and educator in the local dance industry, and teaches extensively at various studios and schools.

1. Could you share with us the inspiration behind ‘A Box Full of .This’ (BFOT)?

I have different approaches to choreography based on the genre of dance I’m working with. With contemporary dance, partly because it’s my first love of movement choices, I tend to use it as a medium to share my stories. Hence, the works I create have a personal touch one way or another, either a strong belief, an experience I’m going through or something I foresee myself experiencing, and I question and explore it.

BFOT is hugely inspired by the humble abode – HDB flats. A close friend of mine was going through the process of applying for her new HDB flat and she was sharing with me about the BTO process. As our population rises, the demand for housing is increasing and flats are getting smaller. When I saw the showflat and the layout, what struck me the most was how constrained some of the spaces were – some rooms are only able to house a double bed and a wardrobe. Unless we are blessed with financial wealth, the majority of us would have to settle for a HDB. How then are we able to make such a tight space livable, while sharing a ‘home’ with the rest of the family?

In BFOT, I question how tight living spaces affect us as individuals, as family units, as couples or even as friends living under the same roof. Its different sections present different combinations of occupants and explore the various tensions or comfort we experience due to the tight living space. How much of our relationships between one another are affected by space, and how do we in turn react to this or change the way we work?

With each work I create, I like to challenge the dancers both physically and mentally which in return enriches my experience and inspiration as they each take to the work differently. With BFOT, the dancers actual performance space was cut greatly due to the set, putting them out of their comfort zone as they are used performing in spaces void of any objects. The dancers take on different “characters” and are also put in the position to move within constrained spaces both during the creative process and the final product, allowing them to be mentally in tune with the work.

Tags : Dance ExxonMobil Campus Concerts Interview

Defining Asian Contemporary with NUS Dance Ensemble
Wednesday, 19 Nov 2014

NUS Dance Ensemble had an exciting month of September celebrating our 22nd year with our annual concert The Next Wave 2014 held on 19 September.

The cast of The Next Wave 2014.

Contemporary dance has taken many forms and evolved tremendously. NUS Dance Ensemble’s style is strongly rooted in an Asian contemporary style that fuses Western contemporary and Asian-ethnic dance influences to produce many unique and unconventional repertoires.

The Next Wave 2014 presented four organic works that explored the power of possibilities. It was led by our Artistic Director & Resident Choreographer, Zaini Mohd Tahir and featured the works of guest choreographers Shahrin Johry (MAYA Dance Theatre), Norisham Osman (The Kaizen M.D) and longtime NUS alum Shabirul Zaki.

Here are snapshots of each item.

Neharo’t Neharo’t by Shabirul Zaki tells a story of desperation and hope that women in war torn countries go through.

Wait by Shahrin Johry explores the ebb and flow of arrivals and departures in daily life. “Expect the unexpected and hold on for the right moment”

Tags : CFA Groups Show Dance NUS Dance Ensemble The Next Wave

An Interview with Joel Tan
Wednesday, 05 Nov 2014

Playwright of The Way We Go by Checkpoint Theatre

From L to R - Julie Wee, Neo Swee Lin, Lydia Look, Patrick Teoh, and Chng Xin Xuan in The Way We Go

This 20-29 November, Checkpoint Theatre brings a new work by NUS alum Joel Tan (English Literature & USP ‘12) - The Way We Go. Joel shared with us about his play and his journey in the theatre scene since graduation.

In The Way We Go, Joel deftly conveys the intricacies and expressions of love beyond the usual romantic genre - the love for learning, life and language; the love between friends and kindred spirits; even the love for the self. The production also features fellow NUS alum Claire Wong (Law ‘88) as the Director, and Neo Swee Lin (Law ‘86) as a leading cast member.

A truly multitalented individual, Joel is a playwright, director and performer. His work crosses genres, styles and theatre-making cultures, including poetry, contemporary drama, dance theatre, pantomime and musical theatre. Joel made his debut at the 2011 Man Singapore Theatre Festival with Wild Rice’s production of Family Outing, directed by Glen Goei. Since then, he has worked with young-people’s theatre groups, including NUS Stage (City Night Songs, 2012), USProductions (People, 2013) and youth groups like Take Off Productions (Postgrads, 2012; Mosaic, 2013) and Creative Edge (People, 2014). He also works with veteran theatre-makers, and has written for Wild Rice (Jack and the Beansprout!, 2013), The Finger Players (The Next Page, 2014) and Checkpoint Theatre (The Way We Go, 2014), where he is an Associate Artist.

1. Can you share a little about how and why you started writing plays?

I was looking for creative writing modules at NUS and the only one available was Huzir Sulaiman's "Introduction to Playwriting." At that point, I had no relationship with theatre and playwriting but I did know that I wanted to write. As it happened, that playwriting class was the first time I received any kind of consistent and rigorous creative writing mentorship. It had a major influence on me and I've not looked back since.

Tags : Theatre Interview

A Colourful Cultural Exchange
Monday, 20 Oct 2014

The ASEAN Youth Cultural Forum (AYCF), held from 7 – 12 September, was an amazing experience for four student talents from CFA dance groups. Zhu Xiao Tong (NUS Chinese Dance), Rivia Ong (NUS Dance Ensemble), Veerappan Swarna (NUS Indian Dance) and Adib Ridzuan (NUS Ilsa Tari), accompanied by CFA staff Abram, made a trip to Jakarta and here are some snippets of the colourful and fun-filled week-long cultural exchange.

Day 1 - On 7 September, we embarked on our AYCF journey filled with excitement and anticipation. First on the list was the Welcome Dinner at our host university, Universitas Indonesia.

Day 1 - With the team from Nanyang Technological University, together with our liaison officer from the host university.

Rehearsals for the opening ceremony filled up our second day, before the event that evening. After the opening speeches, delegates from the respective universities showcased varied performances, such as traditional Javanese dances from Indonesia, and a folk dance from the Philippines.

Tags : CFA Groups ASEAN Youth Cultural Forum Exchange Overseas

NUS Chinese Dance broadens Dance Exposure in Macau
Monday, 20 Oct 2014

NUS Chinese Dance is very proud to represent Singapore at this year’s international Youth Dance Festival in Macau from 17 to 24 July 2014. This biennial event is a platform for youth dance groups from around the world to cultivate friendships and showcase a diverse range of dance talents.

NUS Chinese Dance performed our signature pieces Mirror Moon <<镜水月>> and Reverie <<乐舞>> for the Festival’s opening ceremony and outdoor dance parade. In addition, we premiered a fusion item Unison <<和谐>>, featuring traditional Chinese Dance, Malay Dance and Indian Dance, which aims to represent Singapore’s multi-racial culture. Unison <<和谐>> was further adapted to include more dancers and performed HERE! – NUS’ Arts Carnival Party in August and the State of the University Address in NUS this month .

A splendid pose from Mirror Moon <<镜水月>>, performed at the Dance Festival’s Opening Ceremony.

Unison <<和谐>> was adapted to include more dancers and performed at NUS’ State of the University Address on 10 October 2014.

Tags : CFA Groups NUS Chinese Dance Exchange Overseas

Real Life Speaks Up: Catch the best of Indie Doc Fest at NUS!
Monday, 13 Oct 2014

nuSTUDIOS Film Productions is delighted to collaborate with the Substation each year the Singapore Short Film Awards comes knocking on our calendars. So when the Substation expressed their interest to bring more films to local campuses, we jumped at the opportunity to be part of the Singapore Indie Doc Fest, Singapore’s first ever international documentary film festival since 2008.

This Friday, 17 October at the Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium, UTown, nuSTUDIOS is proud to present the best flicks from submissions to the past 6 years of the Singapore Indie Doc Fest. After looking through the films previously curated by The Substation, we chose the ones with themes closest to our hearts and we hope these films strike a chord with our friends on campus. We hope to promote and encourage awareness, appreciation, and an understanding of the art of local documentaries among everyone studying and working in NUS.

Here’s what to expect

The first film we chose Oh Wahai Kebunku is about the very last kampong in Singapore. With many of us now living in urbanised Singapore, this film will reignite lost memories of a laid back Singapore.

The second film Comfort offers a peek into the life of a taxi driver in Singapore. With many cabbies plying the roads, we hope this film will encourage audience to offer a friendly ‘hello’ and chat with the driver the next time they board a cab.

Tags : CFA Groups nuSTUDIOS Film Productions Film screening

NUS Indian Instrumental Ensemble brings you on a Journey
Wednesday, 08 Oct 2014

Vocalists from NUS Indian Instrumental Ensemble rehearsing before their concert.

After a busy 2013 and producing two concerts, NUS Indian Instrumental Ensemble (IIE) is back with another show this year:‘Yatra: A Journey of Man and Music’ on 12 October, 7pm in the UCC Theatre.

Spend the evening with students of Indian Music as they discuss and chart the development of music alongside civilization. Yatra, which means ‘journey’ in Sanskrit, will span through different eras in the history of mankind, highlighting the music developments during each period of civilization. IIE shed light on their interpretation of music and explore the relationship between technological advancements and music.

Tags : CFA Groups CFA Groups Show NUS Indian Instrumental Ensemble Music

Jazzing it up at the library@esplanade!
Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014

NUS Jazz Band performed at the library@esplanade on 13 September 2014. We played many jazz standards, focusing on the unique arrangements to keep things fresh and lively for audience.

The cosy setting allowed us to connect with our audience, and it was heartening to see such a diverse range of people from toddlers, teenagers and adults to seniors enjoying the Jazz music and grooving along to our tunes!

We also received much positive post-show feedback from many members of the public which made our day. If you missed out on our performance, don’t miss our next concert in October!

Show Details
Jazz in the Dance Studio!
NUS Jazz Band
Tue 21 Oct, 7pm
Free Admission
Dance Studio, Level 1
Stephen Riady Centre, UTown, NUS

For more updates, follow us on Facebook @NUS Jazz Band

Tags : CFA Groups CFA Groups Show NUS Jazz Band Music

NUS Symphony Orchestra returns this September!
Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014

Following the successes of Miniatures (chamber music) and Reverence, National University of Singapore Symphony Orchestra (NUSSO) returns to the stage on Sat 27 Sep, 5pm at VivoCity Amphitheatre. Spend your weekend with us as we bring audiences Screen Gems, an evening of well-known classical works previously featured in films and movies.

This will be NUSSO's first time performing at VivoCity, and we are excited to bring our love of all things classical to the public and into the everyday life of Singaporeans. Rest assured, the music lineup will be light hearted and enjoyable. It is our hope that we will be able to perk your interest in classical music through this concert, and show you that classical music plays a relevant part in creating mood and atmosphere in TV shows, cartoons and blockbusters.

Working hard to put on a good show for our audience!

The NUSSO family eager to spread the love for classical music to all

Tags : CFA Groups CFA Groups Show NUS Symphony Orchestra Music

NUS Dance Blast!: Stepping onto Bigger Stages and Performances
Monday, 01 Sep 2014

Year 2014’s summer break has never been as exciting as before. In June, Blast! participated in two major external events, Super24 and YFest 2014. Two teams, BTG (Blast To Glory) and B.A.M. (Blast Alumni Movement) represented NUS Dance Blast! to compete in Super24, on 8 June at the Suntec Convention Centre. Organised by O School, Super24 is a competition where teams have to perform a 90 seconds routine within a space of 8m by 8m. A nationwide event, each team of 24 dancers was judged by four judges. BTG emerged 5th out of 20 teams, exceeding our expectations and truly bringing Blast! to glory!

B.A.M. and BTG (one day before our competition)

Tags : CFA Groups CFA Groups Show NUS Dance Blast! Dance

Trio Camp 2014 – A vibrant music-filled life in University awaits
Monday, 25 Aug 2014

The first camp of its kind, three CFA music groups – NUS Symphony Orchestra, NUS Jazz Band and NUS Wind Symphony came together to present Trio Camp 2014, a two-day-one-night camp for freshmen musicians from 5 – 6 July. The participants enjoyed playing a diverse range of music, and learnt more about these three music groups managed by NUS Centre For the Arts.

On the first day, camp participants were divided into orientation groups and made new friends through fun icebreaker games. Masterclasses were held for strings, woodwinds, brasses, saxophones and percussion by tutors from the three groups to expose participants’ to different performance styles. NUS Jazz Band also organised a Big Band workshop in the afternoon, introducing participants to playing jazz music in a band setting.

Masterclasses, workshops and hours of playing music, we love it all.

Tags : CFA Groups Music Camp NUS Symphony Orchestra NUS Jazz Band NUS Wind Symphony freshmen

A Reflection on the Asia Pacific Harmonica Festival
Monday, 18 Aug 2014

By Loh Su Ning and Hendra Susanto, who competed in the Quintet Small Group category in the competition.

NUS Harmonica Orchestra (NUSHO) took part in the 10th Asia Pacific Harmonica Festival (APHF) held in Hangzhou, China from 1 to 6 August 2014. The biennial festival is one of the largest harmonica events and provides a platform for harmonica players of all ages and backgrounds to compete in different competition categories. 22 members from the orchestra participated this year.

After close to three months of practice, everyone’s hard work paid off and NUSHO was awarded 11 Golds for the solo, ensemble and creative categories and one Silver award for the small group category amid stiff competition.

Special mention also goes to three brave members who competed in a regional music festival for the first time. With less than a year of playing the harmonica, Jinrui, Chunhan and Jaclyn represented NUS Harmonica Orchestra in the small group category. They performed Humoresque by Dvořák.

Our quintet performing at our full dress rehearsal, with our conductor Ms Koh (Left) looking on and writing notes for feedback

The preparation process taught us one key lesson – music excellence has no boundaries. Each time we felt that we had mastered our piece after hours of practice, our seniors and tutors will still point out how we can further improve.

Tags : CFA Groups NUS Harmonica Orchestra Exchange Overseas Asia Pacific Harmonica Festival

Dance Workshops with Awesome Aussie Student-Dancers from Essington Int’l Senior College, Australia
Saturday, 16 Aug 2014

Ding Hong, NUS Chinese Dance and Essington dancers after a workshop on classical Chinese fan dance.

Earlier this 24 – 27 June, 10 dancers and their teacher from the Essington International Senior College, part of The Essington School Darwin in Australia, visited Singapore for a series of dance workshops by local choreographers.

Facilitated by NUS Centre For the Arts (CFA), the programme comprised five two-hour masterclasses taught at the Dance Studio of the Stephen Riady Centre, University Town. Leading the masterclasses were:

  • •RE:Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director and Technique Tutor for NUS Dance Synergy Albert Tiong
  • •Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer of NUS Chinese Dance Ding Hong
  • •Dansation Arts’ Guo Xiao Xing and Angela Tey

Albert Tiong from NUS Dance Synergy, leading warm-ups at the start of the class

Tags : CFA Groups Exchange Dance NUS Dance Synergy NUS Chinese Dance NUS Dance Ensemble HERE! Workshop Masterclass

The Studios 2014 – RAW: Dark Roomx8 by Edith Podesta
Friday, 04 Jul 2014

An Interview with Nelson Chia

Photo by Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay

In the last of our interviews with the artists from The Studios 2014, we catch up with Nelson Chia, Artistic Director & Co-Founder of Nine Years Theatre, veteran actor and theatre educator. Nelson will be performing in Edith Podesta’s newest work-in-progress Dark Room x8 which follows the lives of eight men housed together in a 5 meter by 5 meter cell, twenty three hours a day, every day, until their release. Based on true accounts, Dark Room x8 explores the codes and regulations of society ‘on the inside’. Playing the role of an “experienced” prisoner who has been serving time for many years, Nelson’s character is one who advises the newer inmates. Performing with Nelson are Crispian Chan, Mohd Fared Jainal, Muhammad Najib Soiman, Pavan J Singh, Rodney Oliveiro, Timothy Nga and Erwin Shah Ismail.

Nelson is known for directing classics in Mandarin such as Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (Esplanade Huayi Festival commission 2012, Macau Arts Festival 2013) and also Twelve Angry Men (Esplanade Huayi Festival commission 2013), which won ‘Best Director’ at the 14th The Straits Times' Life! Theatre Awards. He has also performed many leading roles in English and Mandarin with various theatre companies. Nelson has won ‘Best Actor’ twice in The Straits Times' Life! Theatre Awards for his performance in the 100-minute, one-man show White Soliloquy (Toy Factory Productions, 2010) and A Language Of Their Own (Singapore Arts Festival 2012). He has headed the Department of Theatre at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, lectured at LASALLE College of the Arts and the Theatre Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore.


1. Nine Years Theatre has been very successful staging Western classics in Mandarin, making the plays accessible to a wider audience. Which part of the process has given you the most satisfaction and why?

The most satisfying part is during the rehearsal process where we have to discover ways to negotiate the tension between the texts – which are translated into Mandarin but contained in their original a western sensibility – and the actors’ body that are a fusion of western and eastern cultures that is very Singaporean, and to create a unifying world out of these tensions.

Tags : Theatre Interview

Learning a new groove at CFA Dance Week
Monday, 16 Jun 2014

With school and exams out of the way, dancers from the CFA dance groups attended workshops to learn new dance moves at CFA Dance Week, from 20 – 23 May. Over four evenings, they were mentored by company dancers from T.H.E Dance Company, Re:Dance Theatre and prominent dance instructors Ryan Tan (O School), Guo Xiaoxing (Dansation) and Grace Wee (formerly from School of the Arts.

Here are some takeaways from the intensive training:

“A very enriching and fun dance workshop! I learnt the concept of ‘flow of energy’ instead of just trying to achieve a dance sequence. Mun Wai also taught us how to use all parts of our body to achieve a continuous flow of movement. Another really good take away is to always have purpose in our actions and not be half-hearted in my movements!”
                       – Krithika, Dance Synergy, Lee Mun Wai’s Contemporary (Beginner)

Rachel Lum from Re:Dance Theatre leads a contemporary class

“Mun Wai gave us a new perspective to dance and explained movements in a way that is easy to understand, so dance becomes enjoyable, even for beginners!”
                          – Michaela Tang, Dance Synergy, Lee Mun Wai’s Contemporary (Beginner)

Tags : CFA Groups Masterclass Workshop Dance NUS Dance Synergy NUS Ilsa Tari Dance week

An Unforgettable Journey to the Home of the Niibori Guitar
Friday, 13 Jun 2014

The NUS Guitar Ensemble (GENUS) embarked on a Niborii guitar exposure trip to Japan from 16 – 24 May by invitation from Mr Terada, principal of the Niibori Music Academy. It was an excellent opportunity to meet and learn from teachers and students of the school founded by Dr Hiroki Niibori, creator of the Niibori format of guitar orchestra.

Our 34-member strong party at Changi Airport – ready for take-off!

Our first stop was attending a Niibori guitar concert at Tokyo’s Toppan Hall. We were impressed by the skill of the musicians and their diverse repertoire. We marvelled at the clarity and volume produced by the guitar orchestra, using guitars of various sizes and tone range for a grand performance.

On our first weekend, we jumped at the chance to explore popular stops such as Akihabara, Shibuya, Harajuku and Asakusa, taking in the culture as we went. By Monday, we were on a bus to Fujisawa in Kanagawa for our learning journey.

Tags : CFA Groups NUS Guitar Ensemble GENUS Exchange Overseas

The Studios 2014 – RAW: The Boy Inside by Wang Liansheng
Monday, 09 Jun 2014

An Interview with Wang Liansheng

Photo by Back Alley Creations

Welcome to the third part of our interviews with the artists of The Studios 2014. In this post, we ask law alum Wang Liansheng about his work-in-progress, The Boy Inside. Inspired by Liansheng’s personal battles with eczema, The Boy Inside will be presented as a dramatized reading, bringing together the creative talents of director Alvin Tan and cast Aidli Mosbit, Julius Foo, Karen Tan and Tan Shou Chen.

An active member of the ExxonMobil Campus Concerts Crew as an undergrad, Liansheng started working in the theatre scene as a production crew in 2005. In 2012, he made his transition into writing. He has written for The Necessary Stage's Theatre For Seniors, Singapore Arts Festival 2012, and the NUS Arts Festivals 2012 - 2013. The Boy Inside is Liansheng’s first full-length play. Liansheng also participated in the Playwrights' Lab program organized by The Theatre Practice. Currently, he is part of the National Arts Council's Mentor Access Project, and will be finishing another full-length work under this programme in August 2014


1.What is it like re-visiting The Boy Inside with Alvin, Alin, Julius, Karen and Shou Chen?

Rehearsals have yet to begin [at the time of this interview], but I have been in discussions with Alvin about the work. It has been exciting, and Alvin provides a very clear directorial vision to the work. This allows me to understand my work better, as well as to visualize coherently the execution of the work. Revisiting the work with Alvin has been very reassuring – We have a sense of understanding between the two of us, and I can chat openly with him about the work, allowing ideas to be exchanged in an environment where it aids creation.

Tags : Theatre Interview Alumni

Being S.M.A.R.T – Arts Leaders’ Retreat 2014
Friday, 30 May 2014

The annual NUS CFA Arts Leaders’ Retreat was held from 14 to 16 May, a three day and two night camp of intense fun, action and thought provoking activities. Themed S.M.A.R.T, the camp aimed to equip the batch of new arts leaders from the CFA groups. They learnt from industry professionals, attended marketing and production management bite size workshops and participated in games that challenged their creativity.

Day 1
The students were warmly welcomed by Ms Christine Khor, Director of NUS Centre For the Arts, followed by an informative panel session on the importance of having an artistic vision for any production. Following that was an ice breaker session and trying out different art forms like dancing and singing.

Our students learnt from the experiences of CFA tutors and Artistic Directors Mrs Santha Bhaskar (NUS Indian Dance), Mr Lim Soon Lee (NUS Symphony Orchestra) and Mr Zaini Mohammad Tahir (NUS Dance Ensemble).

Twisting and turning our bodies to dance!.

Tags : CFA Groups Arts Leaders' Retreat Workshop

The Art of Festivals
Thursday, 08 May 2014

A look back by CFA staff, Anirban Sen on the Atelier for Young Festival Managers, held from 3 – 10 April in Edinburgh, United Kingdom

As part of the programming team for the NUS Arts Festival, I had the privilege of attending the Atelier for Young Festival Managers, held in Edinburgh, Scotland, the ‘Festival Capital’ of the World.

Together with 51 other participants, I was fortunate to be selected from over 100 applicants for this 8-day/7-night conference-cum-workshop organised by the European Festivals Association, co-hosted by the Edinburgh International Festival. (Pictured left) The Hub on Castlehill – Home of the Edinburgh International Festival

The Atelier comprised of a series of presentations, talks, panel discussions, break-out sessions and group sessions, interspersed with site visits and performances.

How quickly time went by! It was an action packed programme, and all 52 of us were amazed at the amount of intense discussions we had and the ground that we covered just talking about festivals for one week.

Held at ‘The Hub’ – the Edinburgh International Festival’s home in the city, the Atelier was graced by nine distinguished festival directors from all over the world, who mentored 52 young festival managers over the course of the week.

These mentors were the crème de la crème of Festival Directors. They ranged from Sir Jonathan Mills (Artistic Director, Edinburgh Int’l Festival) to icons like Heiner Goebbels who runs the Ruhrtriennale, a seminal festival which nurtures some of Europe’s most avant garde artists and presents works on epic proportions. There were young and dynamic personalities like Mark Ball from the London International Festival of Theatre, and established stalwarts like Bernard Faivre d’Arcier, the former director of the Avignon Festival. The mentors provided us an insightful, and sometimes wondrous view of the world of iconic festivals, and gave every single one of us something to aspire towards.

Mentors (from L to R) – Mark Ball, Heiner Goebbels & Bernard Faivre d’Arcier provided advice, insight and critiques, and continued discussions informally over meals

Tags : Festival Exchange Workshop Overseas

The Studios 2014 – #UnicornMoment by Checkpoint Theatre
Wednesday, 30 Apr 2014

An Interview with Shiv Tandan
Co-director and Video Artist

Photo by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

In the second part of our interview series with artists from The Studios 2014, we hear from another talented alum, Shiv Tandan who is the co-director and video artist of #UnicornMoment by Checkpoint Theatre.

Shiv Tandan served two terms as President of campus theatre group NUS Stage. He wrote and acted in The Good the Bad and the Sholay (2011), a play that was produced by Checkpoint Theatre and NUS Stage as part of the NUS Arts Festival 2011. The play received 4 nominations in the Singapore Life! Theatre Awards, including Production of the Year and Best Original Script. He was part of NUS Arts Festival this March, as one of the solo actors of White Rabbit Red Rabbit. Shiv is Co-Founder and Creative Director at The Film Guys, a budding film company that produces heartfelt, honest content sometimes with a healthy dose of humour.


1. You’ve been mentored and directed by Huzir in your play, The Good, The Bad and The Sholay (2011), and worked with him in projects by both NUS Stage and Checkpoint Theatre. What do you look forward to from co-directing #UnicornMoment with Huzir?

It's an immense honour to co-direct with Huzir. I've been learning from him since my start in theatre at NUS Stage, when he directed me in It's Complicated. Ever since then, he's been a mentor, teacher, and dear friend. Working with Huzir on an even keel has given me an even keener understanding of how he is so good at what he does - his attention to detail and the way he manages expectations, people, and time while being creatively honest and strong is amazing. The best part about being co-directors is that we get to brainstorm and bounce ideas off each other. I'm looking forward to bringing all of my creativity to the table and making a great show!

Tags : Theatre Interview Alumni

The Studios 2014 - Rant & Rave by The Finger Players
Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014

An Interview with Chong Tze Chien
Director / Playwright / Set Designer

Photo by Tuckys Photography.

Described as “priceless” by The Business Times, and commissioned by the Esplanade as part of its 10th anniversary in 2012, Rant & Rave “convenes” theatre personalities for a dramatic recap of 30 years of Singapore theatre history. In the first of our blog interviews with the artists of The Studios 2014, we chat with Chong Tze Chien, the director and playwright of Rant & Rave

An award-winning and published playwright/director and NUS alum, Chong (pictured left) is the Company Director of The Finger Players and a recipient of the Young Artist Award 2006. His critically acclaimed plays include Charged (Best Script, Life! Theatre Awards) and PIE (Singapore Dramatist Awards). 

1. What inspired your writing and directing of Rant & Rave? 

I was given a brief by the commissioning body – Esplanade – to pay tribute to Singapore Theatre as part of their 10th anniversary in 2012. I thought it would make an interesting angle to put the spotlight on past and present drama reviewers, looking at the evolution of Singapore theatre through their eyes. As part of the research I pored over 30 years of articles and reviews pertaining to the theatre scene; I realised that there were many more stakeholders such as actors, directors and politicians that have helped shaped the scene today. So I expanded the scope of the play to include sound bites from these various real life personalities. The end result is a docudrama that traces the development of Singapore theatre through the eyes of our pioneers, including anyone and everyone who was an audience member (who had written in to the press expressing their opinions about the theatre scene) to the directors/playwrights and actors who are still active in the scene today.

Tags : Theatre Interview Alumni

NUS Arts Festival – NUS Chinese Drama looks into the topic of violence against women
Friday, 28 Feb 2014

This year, NUS Chinese Drama brings to the stage another unique and reflective forum theatre that focuses on violence against women, titled Just A Bad Day <<阴天>> (translated from Mandarin to depict cloudy day or overcast sky).

Violence against women has always been a very complex and multi-faceted issue. NUS Chinese Drama members feel strongly that everyone has a role to play to end violence against women and we should do our part by creating a theatre production that raises awareness among the general public.

The group embarked on a journey to understand this issue better. The Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) conducted two workshops for NUS Chinese Drama members.

NUS Chinese Drama members at the workshop conducted by AWARE to build their knowledge on violence against women.

Tags : NUS Arts Festival NUS Chinese Drama Workshop Festival Diary

NUS Arts Festival 2014 – Rehearsals in Overdrive
Friday, 07 Mar 2014

Guest choreographers, Akiko Kitamura (Japan) and Idan Cohen (Israel) are back in town to rehearse 13 young dancers for the Fest Opening Show: Overdrive: A Triple Bill (14 & 15 Mar) at the UCC Theatre.

Akiko presents Emotional Strata, a video-dance piece that investigates the effect of time and continuity on people or objects we value in this consumerist society, and draws inspiration from the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake.

Idan presents Private Dancer, which reveals how we view our most intimate instrument – the body – to shape ourselves into significance within the laws of social expectation.

Here’s the trailer where they explain a little more about their work:


Tags : Festival Diary Dance NUS Arts Festival

NUS Arts Festival brightens up the Campus
Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014

We hope you find the tongue-in-cheek quotes as amusing as we did! They’ll be all around campus for about one more month till the Fest ends on 29 March. In case you missed out, we’re having an Instagram contest going on now, so do snap a pic of you or your friends posing with these boards next time you see it and stand to win a $10 Starbucks card!

It’s easy to spot, with many boards planted all along the road from Business/ Computing to Science. What’s your favourite quote?

Tags : NUS Arts Festival Outdoor Festival Diary

NUS Arts Festival – Gastronomic visual feasting
Thursday, 20 Feb 2014

‘Excited’ can barely describe the feelings I had on the morning of Saturday, 18 January 2014. Just a few days ago, I was overjoyed to receive an email confirming my place in Moveable Feasts, a unique interactive exhibition of Singapore food, as part of the NUS Arts Festival themed CONSUMED.

Food, glorious food: A first draft of food photography by Jenson, a participant in this exhibition. Come on down to the Fest (14 – 29 March) for the final showcase.

This project grabbed my interest as it combined my favourite hobbies, photography and food! I was delighted when I found out that we’d get to work with local celebrities, Dr Leslie Tay of ieatishootipost and Moses Lim of popular 90’s TV sitcom, Under One Roof!

Tags : NUS Arts Festival Workshop Festival Diary

NUS Piano Ensemble explores Theatre!
Thursday, 06 Feb 2014

How do you attract a wider pool of audience to attend a classical music concert repertoire? This was the roadblock issue the NUS Piano Ensemble (NUSPE) faced each performance season.

However at this year’s NUS Arts Festival 2014, NUSPE presents Maestro, a story of one composer’s journey as he struggles to make a living. NUSPE will boldly weave stories of personal and relevant issues facing musicians young and old, into a theatrical story that will appeal not just to fans of music classics.

Raising the bar following the sell-out success of Genius Or Nuts (at NUS Arts Festival 2013), NUSPE has been working with professional playwright Faith Ng at weekly workshops to develop the script to accompany the score of Maestro. Faith’s past works include wo(men) (2010, NUS Arts Festival), which was nominated for Best Original Script in The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards (2011) and For Better or For Worse (2013).

NUSPE members deep in discussion with Faith (far right) at their weekly workshops.


Tags : NUS Arts Festival Music NUS Piano Ensemble Theatre Festival Diary

Dramatically Con$umed - An interview with Edith Podesta
Tuesday, 07 Jan 2014

On 28 and 29 March, awardwinning theatre director Edith Podesta, Young Artist Award recipient Brian Gothong Tan and Life! Theatre Award nominee Adrian Tan – together with a team of professional actors and NUS talents – will create a world where consumerism supersedes all moral codes. artzone interviews Con$umed’s director and theatre faculty at LaSalle College of the Arts Edith Podesta about Con$umed, the NUS Arts Festival Closing Show commission.

Tags : NUS Arts Festival Theatre Interview Festival Diary

Warming up for NUS Arts Festival 2014 – Traces 《走过》
Monday, 06 Jan 2014

NUS Arts Festival 2014 presents a showcase of NUS Dancers performing with professional dance artists such as Re:Dance Theatre, T.H.E Second Company and choreographers Akiko Kitamura (Japan) and Idan Cohen (Israel). One of which is Traces《走过》(Fri 22 Mar), a commissioned programme highlight performed by NUS Dance Synergy and Re:Dance Theatre (RDT).

18 dedicated dancers from NUS Dance Synergy and RDT began classes and rehearsals since 16 Dec 2013. Led and choreographed by Mr Albert Tiong, Traces《走过》 is a NUS Dance Synergy first collaboration with a professional dance company in a three-month residency programme.

Tags : NUS Arts Festival Festival Diary Dance NUS Dance Synergy Rehearsal

Electronic Music Lab launches our first EP – Android Calling!
Tuesday, 26 Nov 2013

NUS Electronic Music Lab (EML) had its very own EP launch party on the Wednesday 6 November 2013 at the well established Home Club, known to support local musicians. The event gathered not only supportive friends and family, but also a crowd of a hundred, attended by EML alums, friends from the electronic dance music (EDM) industry and music journalists.


Tags : CFA Groups Electronic Music Lab Music

Celebrating Artistic Excellence at the Tan Ean Kiam Arts Awards
Friday, 15 Nov 2013

The fifth Tan Ean Kiam Arts Awards was held on Wednesday October 30, 2013, at the University Cultural Centre Theatre. The annual event, which aims to recognise the talents and contributions of NUS Centre for the Arts groups, was themed Black, White and Gold. Students, instructors and alumni from CFA performing arts groups attended the event, together with NUS President Tan Chorh Chuan, Dean of Students Tan Teck Koon, Tan Ean Kiam Foundation Chairman Tan Keng Soon, CFA Director Christine Khor, and CFA staff. 

Award winners with Guest-of-Honour, NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan, Prof Tan Teck Koon (Dean of Students) and Mr Tan Keng Soon, Tan Ean Kiam Foundation chair.

Tags : CFA Groups Award Tan Ean Kiam Arts Award

An awesome life on stage
Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013

Fresh on the scene of theatre directing, two NUS Stage directors share their thoughts on their recent show, me, now by NUS Stage.

NUS Stage's recent production, Me, Now (anagram for women) was a great chance for theatre-enthusiasts to put up quality theatre while learning about what goes on behind the scenes of a professional level production. Looking back, we are glad to announce: Mission accomplished!

Tags : CFA Groups Theatre NUS Stage CFA Groups Show

Step into Wonderland
Tuesday, 29 Oct 2013

NUS Chinese Orchestra (NUSCO) presented Wonderland 《梦幻之境》, on 12 Oct 2013 at the UCC Theatre, NUS.

It was the highlight of the semester for every member of the Orchestra to finally perform after weeks of hard work and practice. The hour-long performance was a varied mix of light-hearted vibrant pieces like the theme music of popular console game Super Mario to beautiful haunting melodies from the Final Fantasy X. We also performed classics from beloved films produced by Studio Ghibli (a Japanese animation film studio) such as My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Laputa and Howl’s Moving Castle. Many of these songs were newly arranged pieces (courtesy of Phoon Yu) and even a new piece composed by NUSCO alumni, Mr Melvin Shen.

Tags : CFA Groups CFA Groups Show NUS Chinese Orchestra

NUS Ilsa Tari's Trip to Yogyakarta - An enriching and memorable experience like no other
Friday, 20 Sep 2013

NUS Ilsa Tari is collaborating with the Arts Institute of Indonesia Yogyakarta (ISI) for our annual production on 28 September to put up a doublebill never done before. Selamatkan Bumiku- Bumi Merekah… Langit Membelah (Save My Earth), will explore the consequences of Man’s actions on Earth where Man’s weakness is his endless desires that can never be satisfied, and brought harm to Earth.

As part of this collaboration, we participated in a dance exchange programme with the Arts Institute of Indonesia (Yogyakarta) for one week (16 to 23 June) to learn and experience their traditional dances and choreography as well as ethnic music and music composition. From dance exploration exercises at Prambanan Temple and the beach of Parangkusumo and music exploration exercises at Boko Temple, to watching the Javanese Classical Dance Festival at Kraton Yogyakarta and putting up a performance with the dancers of ISI, it was truly an invaluable experience!

Tags : CFA Groups NUS Ilsa Tari Exchange Overseas

A wonderful summer HERE!
Monday, 26 Aug 2013

This summer (Jun to Aug), I had an extraordinary opportunity to intern at NUS Centre For the Arts (CFA). As a new comer from Hong Kong, the three months were very exciting and interesting as I was involved in Welcome (Back) to Campus - HERE!, and worked with many passionate and talented student groups and artists.

HERE! is an arts carnival party on campus that welcomes freshmen and NUS students back to campus for the new academic year. The programme showcased various performances by CFA arts groups, Cultural Activities Sub-Clubs and professional artists from Singapore’s local music scene. Throughout my practicum, I participated in many meetings and rehearsals of different performances by the various CFA groups, and felt the creativity and enthusiasm of these students.

I was impressed by the professional management of CFA. Back home at the City University of Hong Kong (CUHK), where I am currently a student, I joined the Drama Club which has a student-driven approach where the student executive committee made all administrative decisions and formed the artistic team of all productions.

Tags : HERE! Exchange

Journey to the City of Music
Monday, 12 Aug 2013

The NUS Symphony Orchestra (NUSSO) went to Vienna this summer to take part in the Summa Cum Laude International Summer Festival. The orchestra performed at the Golden Hall of the Musikverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic, often considered as one of the world’s finest. On 8 July 2013, NUSSO received the first runner-up in the Symphony Orchestra category at the 7th Summa Cum Laude (SCL) International Youth Music Festival 2013. This was no easy feat as the Orchestra was up against musicians from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Serbia, many of whom were fulltime musicians from conservatories.

NUSSO with Music Director Lim Soon Lee outside the Vienna Musikverein.

Tags : CFA Groups NUS Symphony Orchestra Competition Overseas Festival

Whetting Optical Appetites
Friday, 19 Jul 2013

Richard Causer in Natalie Weir's While Others Sleep.Photo by Fiona Cullen

A recipient of the National Arts Council Seed Grant earlier this April, RAW Moves unveils its latest offering, Optical Appetite, this 28 August, 8pm at the University Cultural (UCC) Theatre, NUS. This world premiere is a collaboration between Australian guest choreographer Richard Causer, RAW Moves' artistic director Ricky Sim and the RAW Moves dancers. Find out more in this one-on-one with Richard Causer.

Tags : ExxonMobil Campus Concerts Dance Interview Artzone

NUS Dance Ensemble turns 21!
Monday, 08 Jul 2013

Celebrating the milestone with exchanges and collaborations with International Dance Groups

Left: Youth for Excellence performance, by La Salle Dance Company and Saint Benilde Romancon Dance Company at The Next Wave 2012 – Variations.

Right: Dancers from CFA Groups, NUS Dance Ensemble and NUS Dance Synergy with dancers from Essington International Senior College, Charles Darwin University.

NUS Dance Ensemble is proud to turn 21 this year. This milestone year has seen the Ensemble engaging in collaborations and exchanges with both local and foreign dance groups.

Tags : CFA Groups NUS Dance Ensemble Exchange The Next Wave

The Art of Being a Superhero - Arts Leaders' Retreat 2013
Thursday, 23 May 2013

Student Leaders of the 22 CFA Arts Groups.

The student leaders of the 22 NUS Centre For the Arts (CFA) groups recently gathered for a three-day retreat (14 –  16 May) to be equipped and empowered in preparation of an artistic and busy year ahead. The 58 undergrads, all newly appointed Presidents, Vice-Presidents, and office-bearers, come from various faculties in NUS.

Tags : CFA Groups Arts Leaders' Retreat Workshop

New Centre For The Arts, Sports and Learning
Monday, 06 May 2013

Stephen Riady Centre at University Town

Officially opened on 8 March by Guest of Honour, Minister for Education Mr Heng Swee Keat, the new Stephen Riady Centre at NUS’ University Town adds a new dimension to the campus’s multi-faceted learning environment.

Tags : NUS Arts Festival

Fiesta Rondalla 2013
Sunday, 31 Mar 2013

The NUS Rondalla is proud to bring Fiesta Rondalla 2013 on Thursday 4 April 2013, a musical experience that is also an introduction to Rondalla Music. Look forward to a repertoire which includes the famous classic Granada and soundtrack from the romantic sci-fi film Somewhere in Time arranged by alumni Bill Sheng Yuan. Although a common classic, Granada’s vitality and flamboyance are enhanced by a quick tempo score.

There will be a special appearance by Flamenco dancers led by Antonio Vargas and Daphne Huang, accompanied by the music by NUS Rondalla. It will be an unforgettable musical evening!

Dancers bring a dash of colour and life with their energetic hops and steps.

The preparation for this annual concert has seen the Ensemble rehearsing hard every Saturday evening, with senior members coaching their juniors in musical knowledge and skill.

Tags : ExxonMobil Campus Concerts CFA Groups CFA Groups Show NUS Rondalla

NUS Arts Festival 2013 Closes in on Open Questions
Thursday, 21 Mar 2013

For the past two weekends, the 8th NUS Arts Festival (NAF) was a bazaar of colour and sounds. Supported by passionate and dedicated artists, undergrads, alums and staff, the campus’ flagship arts platform, featuring 36 shows in total, will draw to a close this weekend.

Resonating to the theme of “Open Questions,” the Fest featured a diverse lineup in its first two weekends, ranging from Chinese dance to theatre improv, from film screenings to electronic music. For those who missed the shows, here’s a brief snapshot of the highlights.

Tags : NUS Arts Festival Festival Diary

Joyful Songs in the City
Friday, 25 Jan 2013

For many NUS students, the month of December usually means fun, rest and fuel, but for the choristers in The NUSChoir, December is the season to spread the excitement and happiness in the air, also the beginning of a Joyous Christmas season filled with carolling gigs around Singapore.

In preparing for our carolling gigs, it is The NUSChoir’s tradition to organise our annual choir camp. In the span of three days from 10 to 12 December, we rehearsed and refined over 20 Christmas carols and bonded with choir members through fun games and a barbecue. The close of the camp also began our 12 day carolling season from 13 to 25 December. We visited many places, bringing the Christmas cheer to the crowd at the Esplanade Library, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and office buildings Capitol Tower and HSBC Building. We also visited shopping malls in the heart of the city like Marina Square and hotel Conrad Centennial Singapore.

Carolling 2012: Singing Christmas carols at Capitol Tower

Tags : CFA Groups The NUSChoir

Going Full Circle
Monday, 28 Jan 2013

The Face To Face platform returns to the Fest for a third year, showcasing works by young NUS art makers mentors by arts professionals. The platform moves from its sole focus on budding choreographers towards also nurturing NUS theatre talents. Featuring choreographer Samantha Eva Ho and director Chen Yingxuan, both NUS students are deeply committed to their artistic genres. They will be mentored by T.H.E Dance Company’s Lee Mun Wai and The Finger Players’ Company Director Chong Tze Chien respectively.

The show, titled Face to Face III : Full Circle, is further underpinned by the expertise of lighting designer Lim Woan Wen who will be mentoring first time lighting designer, NUS alum Liu Yong Huay, as well as sound artist Darren Ng who will be mentoring first time sound designer Sarah Sum, for original soundscape and compositions for the production.

Face To Face III also taps the creative energies of three NUS alum playwrights – Eleanor Neo, Faith Ng and Wang Liansheng – whose scripts in the show first appeared in the volume Platform Campus 2012 – Circle Lines, a volume commissioned for the Singapore Arts Festival. For that project, the three writers were mentored by Chong Tze Chien, Ben Slater and Kaylene Tan.

Tags : NUS Arts Festival Festival Diary Theatre

Triple Stars of Solo / Duet
Monday, 14 Jan 2013

Led by Artistic Director and Founder Kuik Swee Boon, T.H.E Dance Company returns for a second highly anticipated installment of Solo / Duet. This successful dance exchange will see the talented dancers of T.H.E. Dance Company travelling overseas to work with choreographers, with whom the dancers extend the limits of their artistic skills within and without the context of culture. Read on for more about the choreographers behind this artistic venture that is a highlight at this year’s NUS Arts Festival 2013.


Kuik Swee Boon

Artistic Director and Founder, T.H.E Dance Company

Former principal dancer of the Compania Nacional de Danza in Spain (CND), Kuik Swee Boon, has worked with Nacho Duato as well as many renowned choreographers including Jiri Kylian, Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin and Wim Vandekeybus. 

Tags : NUS Arts Festival Festival Diary Dance

Giving It Their Best Shot
Monday, 14 Jan 2013

Slapped with hair gel and cosmetics, faces doodled on and breathless from leaping repeatedly, young students from NUS Centre For the Arts (CFA) spent a hectic October afternoon with their instruments and costumes. However, they weren’t rehearsing. Instead, they were at a photoshoot for NUS Arts Festival 2013, bringing their concert to life in a different way.

Tags : NUS Arts Festival Festival Diary

Dancing through December
Tuesday, 08 Jan 2013

The December semester break has come again! But for the NUS Chinese Dance, this is not just any ordinary holiday as it marks the start of an exciting, enriching learning experience for dancers who will be performing in Mirror.Moon in the NUS Arts Festival 2013 (NAF) from 9 – 23 March.

On 11 December 2012, we welcomed the arrival of our guest choreographer Wang Cheng Laoshi (Mandarin for Teacher) and his teaching assistant, Tao Wen Jun Laoshi from Anhui, China. Having met them at the Taoli Cup Competition in August 2012, we are indeed honoured to be able to invite Wang Cheng Laoshi to choreograph four of our eight items in Mirror.Moon for NAF 2013.

Tags : NUS Arts Festival Festival Diary Dance NUS Chinese Dance

Getting Rest and Modern Feeling
Wednesday, 02 Jan 2013

Two of Korea’s new generation contemporary dance talents and choreographers, Lee Jae Young and Lee Insoo, will be breaking stereotypes at the NUS Arts Festival 2013

Premiered in 2011, Rest, like the other works by 30-year-old Lee Jae-Young, relates to human society. Using a basketball to reflect the constant movement and pauses of our lives, the 18-minute work explores the desperation for relaxation after continuous activity and the subsequent emptiness of that rest.

Tags : NUS Arts Festival Festival Diary Dance

Talking Sex, Money and Politics
Wednesday, 02 Jan 2013

This semester, the campus’ Chinese theatre community will break the rules of polite conversation with two farcial comedies by two Italian playwrights whose lives are separated by more than a century. 

KEVII Hall Chinese Drama. Photo by Zhou Shuo

Performing with the NUS Indian Instrumental Ensemble
Monday, 24 Dec 2012

Hear from first year student, Soundarya Ramanan about his debut performance in Singapore with the NUS Indian Instrumental Ensemble (IIE).

Having learnt Indian Carnatic music on the keyboard for the past 6 years, I thought I wouldn’t get a chance to perform here in NUS and my skill would go to waste. That was when the NUS Indian Instrumental Ensemble (IIE) came to my rescue! The Indian Instrumental Ensemble immediately recognised my talent and gave me the opportunity to perform for our concert Desh: The Rhythm of a Nation held on 26 September 2012.

A Memorable Harmonica Treat — the 9th Asia Pacific Harmonica Festival
Monday, 24 Dec 2012

The NUS Harmonica Orchestra relives some of the sights and sounds they experienced in Kuala Lumpur in August this year.

Asia Pacific Harmonica Festival (APHF) which took place from 3 – 6 August in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was a precious opportunity for harmonica lovers from Asia and around the world to appreciate the beauty of this tiny exquisite instrument. An excellent platform for both expert and amateur harmonica players to share their knowledge, the biennial event was no doubt an exciting and fruitful experience in NUS Harmonica Orchestra’s 31-year history to be part of this event and competition.

The Festival was a haven of harmonica music performed by both young and silver-haired artists, playing different genres ranging from Classical to Blues and Pop tunes. NUS Harmonica Orchestra was privileged to meet Mr Gerhard Müller, Chairman of World Harmonica Festival 2013, and staff from Hohner Company, the world’s biggest manufacturer of quality harmoica’s, Mr Michael Timler, Head of the Hohner service team and Mr Richard Weiss, product manager for Hohner harmonicas.

We spotted the newly designed
Hohner bass harmonica and chord harmonica, which have an improved tonal quality, ease of maintenance and revolutionarily made customisation of chords possible for chord harmonicas. 

Estaciones de las Guitarras – A Tale of Four Seasons by NUS Guitar Ensemble
Thursday, 11 Oct 2012

The NUS Guitar Ensemble (also known by clever acronym GENUS) is busy preparing for their concert, Estaciones de las Guitarras – A Tale of Four Seasons on Sunday, 21 Oct, 7.30pm. CFA Voice finds out from GENUS President, Tan Yin Yun, second-year NUS Business student what can be expected from the region's first Niibori guitar ensemble.

1. What a unique concert title you have! What does Estaciones de las Guitarras mean?

Estaciones de las Guitarras, translates from Spanish to mean “seasons of the guitars”. As the title suggests, GENUS aims to depict the four seasons through a selection of music that corresponds to both the literal and metaphorical ideas associated with each annual season.

Concert Details

Estaciones de las Guitarras - A Tale of Four Seasons
Sun, 21 Oct, 7.30pm
University Cultural Centre, Theatre
For tickets, please email

An Exciting Year For NUS Dance Ensemble
Thursday, 11 Oct 2012

In light of its 20th Anniversary celebration, NUS Dance Ensemble has achieved much this year. From overseas trips and workshops, to dance intensives in preparation for the anniversary show, The Next Wave - ObservAsian, read on to find out more about the Ensemble’s exuberant journey. 


NUS Piano Ensemble aims for artistry and perfection in every note
Friday, 05 Oct 2012

Since celebrating her 25th anniversary in March, NUS Piano Ensemble (NUSPE for short and pronounced as “new-s-pea”) has set goals for the road ahead. Embarking on a spectrum of activities which aims to enrich the musical lives of the ensemble’s members (known as NUSPEians) and promote different genres of piano music to the NUS community, the close-knit ensemble continues to dream big, as NUSPE hopes to touch audience with their musical artistry, perfection and creativity.

October will be yet another busy month for NUSPE, with upcoming concert, Tri-Angel on the 17th this month. CFA Voice finds out what else is in store.

A Journey to Remember - NUS Ilsa Tari's first overseas performance
Friday, 14 Sep 2012

Being invited to present an original NUS Ilsa Tari production at the prestigious Georgetown Festival 2012 in Penang is indeed an honour and a good opportunity to better our skill and share our love for dance to a wider audience. As NUS Ilsa Tari’s first overseas performance, this trip was especially meaningful to our troupe.

Back from the experience, we are thrilled that our performance "Perjalanan: An Odyssey" received positive comments and praise from the audience, who found our contemporary Malay dance performance refreshing, something uncommon to their local dance scene.

As a dancer, I've learned that effort and commitment from teamwork goes a long way. Our utmost appreciation also goes to our resident choreographer/artistic director, Cikgu Osman Abdul Hamid, for his effort and guidance in preparing us for this production with his constant words of encouragement.

Most importantly, every one of us really enjoyed ourselves on and off stage and we can never be more thankful for all the fun, joy and laughter throughout this journey. Here are some photos of the happy moments we'd like to share.

NUS Ilsa Tari team leaving Singapore for the Georgetown Festival 2012

Bringing the House Down
Thursday, 13 Sep 2012

“Our decisions have profound impact on the people around us,” said second year Civil Engineering student, Tian Yi Kai as he introduced NUS Chinese Drama’s bite-sized forum theatre piece to a group of audience seated amidst the Camping and Tramping exhibition in the NUS Museum. Minutes later, a few sporting ones volunteered to re-enact how they’d like a scene about an MRT ride to unfold and laughter spread across the room.

Visitors who decided to attend the CFA House Party on 15 August 2012 were exposed to the vibrant arts opportunities on campus and much more. A not-to-be-missed event which presents the talents of all 22 CFA Arts Groups under one roof, the evening was a display of colourful costumes, acts and lively music.

In the UCC Theatre (From Left): NUS Dance Synergy and NUS Dance Blast let loose some moves on stage

Celebrate 20 years with NUS Dance Ensemble (NUSDE)
Tuesday, 24 Jul 2012

The Ensemble will present well loved works by its Resident Choreographer, Zaini Mohd Tahir in their annual show, The Next Wave - ObservAsian (TNW). These include the awardwinning Samsara (2007), Four Short Stories about Boys and Girls (2008) and Human Behaviour (2005). Expect a high energy pulsating performance of jazz, contemporary and modern dance fused with Asian elements. Zaini, Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer, shares more about reaching this milestone. Read the full article on the Ensemble in our artzone magazine distributed on campus or online here.

NUSDE has come a long way since 1992. Moving ahead, share with us your goals/ vision for the Ensemble? Where you do see NUSDE in the next ten years?

Simply put, we aspire to be a contemporary dance group with a strong Asian identity and spirit. For the past 20 years, we have produced many works that are testament of that and I think that is the prevalent perception amongst dance audience here.

While it’s easy to depict an Asian item with appropriate costuming and styling, it is something else to do contemporary pieces which look and feel modern and current. I suppose that is the direction I want to go next - a more modern approach while keeping true to being an Asian.

In the next ten years, I’m keen to explore collaborations with like-minded dancers and dance-makers, as I’m sure this obsession to find myself strikes some resonance in many.


Geoffrey Saba Plays Rachmaninoff and Scriabin
Tuesday, 24 Jul 2012

On 3 October, UK-based Australian piano virtuoso Geoffrey Saba will present a programme of rarely performed music by Russian composers Scriabin and Rachmaninoff at the University Cultural Centre (UCC). This being his fourth visit to Singapore, the critically acclaimed pianist Geoffrey has grown to enjoy the local flavours of Sambal barbequed stingray and Char Kuey Teow. Read on as he shares some light hearted anecdotes. Read the rest of the interview in our artzone magazine available around campus and online here.

1. Share with us one unforgettable moment when working with young musicians.

Some years ago I was giving a series of master classes at a large Music School in Jakarta. A young lady played Schumann's Second Piano Sonata. It was musical, but much too slow. I felt that she could play it faster, and asked her to do so. She did, but it was still lacking in energy. So I did a very naughty thing. Knowing that you should not touch the top of a person's head in Indonesia, I put my hands firmly on her head and messed her hair up, saying "Schumann went mad, mad! Now play it FASTER!!" Well, she took off, playing it about three times as fast as previously, and it was very very exciting. When she finished, there was a gasp from everyone, as it was really tremendous playing and she had captured the essence of the music. She ran from the room and wasn't seen for three days!! I believe she went up into the hills to recover.


NUS Ilsa Tari performs at the George Town Festival 2012, Penang
Tuesday, 24 Jul 2012

This 17 - 20 June, NUS Ilsa Tari, a member of NUS Centre For the Arts, was privileged to be invited to participate in George Town Festival in Penang, a unique festival which commemorates UNESCO’s inclusion of George Town in its listing of World Heritage sites in 2008. For a month, the island of Penang comes alive with a vibrant celebration of art, music, theatre, dance opera and film through which the thread of its heritage weaves.

Our group of 12 dancers arrived in Penang on a warm Sunday afternoon together with Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer, Cikgu Osman Abdul Hamid and a small team of production and technical managers. For many of us, it was our first visit to Penang and we were welcomed by Alex, the Festival Liaison Officer who escorted us to a cozy guesthouse on Love Lane. While the tech team visited the venue, we wandered through the colorful streets to soak in the festival atmosphere and the blending of the old and new in George Town.

A cosy family - NUS Ilsa Tari and I (in both photos: second row, second from left) at the George Town Festival 2012

Camping and Tramping – What makes a post-colonial Malayan identity?
Tuesday, 20 Sep 2011

Picture 1: Natural History Specimens from the Raffles Museum and Library (today part of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, NUS)

Museums have always been places of fascination for me. Examining a single object on display can immediately borne you back into a past civilization, bringing you into a relationship not only with the object but also with the people who made and used them. The NUS Museum has launched its most recent exhibition, Camping and Tramping Through the Colonial Archive, which combines artefacts from the Raffles Museum and Library (estd. 1849) and the University of Malaya Art Museum (estd. 1955) to re-create a vision of colonial Malaya. I was fortunate to be able to speak to Mustafa, the curator who works behind the scenes.

For Mustafa, the museum provides a visual dimension to theoretical concepts written in books; it is a space where conceptual ideas can be mobilized. Part of what motivated him to be a curator was the curiosity in understanding how museums think, operate and function. More often than not, representing the past is tricky, especially if it means provoking an audience towards newer ways of thinking. It is an emerging challenge to make the past relevant to a young generation for whom History is two weeks ago, or even 10 hours ago.

“It’s not a revolution per se, but at the end of the day there is a certain amount of change we generate from how people encounter objects in a museum context.”

A Colourful Carnival of the Arts
Wednesday, 17 Aug 2011

The dance, film and theatre showcases of the CFA House Party got off to a great start with a more than 500-strong audience which comprised mainly undergrads and members of public.

Impossible to miss was the Dance Dance Revolution machine and its thumping party music that filled the foyer of the University Cultural Centre (UCC). The irresistible video game drew many delighted grins from dancers and audience alike.

The dance segment was a flurry of colours. NUS Chinese Dance’s item was as fiery as their crimson fans, backed by a dramatic fast-paced track. NUS Indian Dance embodied golden elegance, while NUS Dance Blast!’s sextet was all red-tee black-jacketed male swagger. Set to a lush romantic tune, beige-clad NUS Dance Synergy dancers brought grace and contemplation to their modern piece. The new kid on the dance block, NUS Indian Dance’s Bollywood group, had the crowd clapping even before the last note faded. Their sequined pink sleeveless tops and white pants left an energetic yet fun impression. Coupling discipline and a powerful physicality, NUS Ilsa Tari dancers, in their stark black and white, showed how Malay Dance has expanded beyond traditional boundaries. NUS Dance Ensemble’s whirling dervishes-inspired piece topped off a thoroughly enjoyable cross-cultural showcase.

NUS Alumni Filmmakers in the Spotlight!
Wednesday, 17 Aug 2011

This August, don’t miss this screenings which include works by three talented NUS alumni filmmakers.

Red + White
Presented by the Arts House and 13 Little Pictures
Weekends till 27 Aug 2011. Book your tickets at The Arts House:

Of the four filmmakers in the limelight, three are NUS alumnus. Lei Yuan Bin and Sherman Ong studied in the Law and Arts faculties respectively. The third, Lai Weijie, is alumnus of Tisch School of the Arts Asia and also nuSTUDIOS Film Productions, one of the 23 arts groups at NUS Centre For the Arts. We extend hearty congrats and best wishes to these talented individuals.

Read on for more on their films!

Getting a 360 on Society Through Forum Theatre
Friday, 08 Jul 2011

Aimed at encouraging critical thinking among its members and audiences by presenting different perspectives on society’s current issues, NUS Chinese Drama has been around for 8 years now. Read on for their recent passion for forum theatre, their work nurturing young playwrights, and what this means for their upcoming shows.

NUS Arts Festival 2011: The Festival to Set You Thinking
Wednesday, 01 Jun 2011

Back on campus for the 6th year, NUS Arts Festival 2011 delved deeper into the Asian paradigm, setting audiences thinking with its hallmark student vibrancy, professional collaboration and scholastic conception!

Setting the stage for the exciting and explorative ride through Asia, NUS Indian Dance opened the Festival with Anweshana – The Search for Nalanda. Directed by Cultural Medallion winner Mrs Santha Bhaskar, this third and final installment was a year-long project researched with the Nalanda Sriwijaya Centre, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and Asian Civilisation Museum.

With Prof Kanniks Kannikeswaran’s original score, NUS Indian Instrumental Ensemble presented The Silk Road: Asia and The World of Tomorrow, using the trading route as an emblem of cultural exchange. Taking a Voyage to the Orient, NUS Symphony Orchestra and UK piano virtuoso Geoffrey Saba performed the Singapore premiere of Peter Sculthorpe’s Piano Concerto.

Student Leaders' Retreat (SLR) 2011
Monday, 30 May 2011

From 10 – 12 May, I attended a camp designed to orientate over 40 undergrad leaders of NUS Centre For the Arts (CFA) arts groups. Held at the YWCA, this three day-two night camp was, for me, a first in many ways.

Being a student leader for an arts group is simultaneously daunting and exhilarating. Personally, for a person with zero prior experience in leading an arts group, the Student Leaders’ Retreat (SLR) was vital in understanding all the elements that are involved in planning a performance.

Shiv’s Sholay: It’s Good and Not Bad or Ugly
Friday, 08 Apr 2011

Reputed to be Bollywood’s biggest hit, Sholay is the story of outlaw heroes Jai and Veeru working for an ex-policeman hell-bent on taking revenge on dacoit Gabbar Singh. Directed by Ramesh Sippy, this western that spans action, adventure, romance and comedy was released in 1975 for a 50-week run. More recently, Sholay also captivated audiences at the NUS Arts Festival 2011. Aired as a free screening at the UCC Courtyard, the film was also the inspiration for NUS Stage President Shiv Tandan’s play, The Good, The Bad and The Sholay.

Image credit: Memphis West Pictures

As NUS undergraduate’s “personal retelling” of Sholay, Shiv’s play is spliced with movie scenes that bear connection to young Raghav’s life as he grows up in small-town Ambala on the precipice of technological change. The war of attrition occurs over Raghav’s boyhood, as traffic lights and IM-ing come invading. But the bulk of the crossover happens after Raghav returns from his overseas education in NUS to an Ambala replete with malls, McDonalds, Hot Millions and other hallmarks of the developed world.

Thankfully, The Good, The Bad and The Sholay isn’t a perfectly-mapped parallel of Shiv’s stage persona onto Jai, Sholay’s stoic hero. Just as the film circumvents a happily-ever-after, Shiv’s Sholay is not a mere autobiographical mirror. His reflections are complex and executed with the subtlest of stage magic, due to the minimalistic choices made by Director and scriptwriting mentor, Huzir Sulaiman. In the play, a bare stage of interlocking wooden platforms suggests everything from uneven cliffs to domestic spaces of a home.

Reliving history through dance
Thursday, 03 Mar 2011

NUS Arts Festival opens with Anweshana III – The Search for Nalanda by NUS Indian Dance

This 11 March, the 6th NUS Arts Festival opens with a dazzling display of Bharatanatyam, classical Indian dance, choreographed by Cultural Medallion Winner Santha Baskar.

A year-long work-in-progress, Anweshana explores Nalanda, an ancient centre of higher learning that flourished in 7th century India. Through three installments, it takes a deep look at this symbol of Asia’s cultural heritage. This March’s installment is about how knowledge and ideas that originated in Nalanda travelled throughout Asia.

Let's Pretend with Sarah Cheng-De Winne
Wednesday, 29 Dec 2010

Sarah Cheng-De Winne may not have had formal jazz theory training but that has not stopped the 22-year-old NUS USP Undergraduate from releasing her debut jazz vocal EP, co-produced with renowned musical theatre arranger-composer Bang Wenfu. With seven tracks penned by Sarah, Let’s Pretend has been self-funded, and fueled by Sarah’s determination to succeed. In her songs of longing, loving and losing, Sarah’s expressive voice translates her emotions and experiences into music that creates an instant connection with her listeners.

A Holistic University Education
Monday, 27 Dec 2010

On 3rd November 2010, Dr. Lee Suan Yew addressed NUS students and old friends alike to articulate the necessity of cultural activities for a holistic university education. He shared how he was challenged by to ‘immerse himself’ in the culture of the West as a medical student at Cambridge and the priceless encounters he consequently had with legendary artists as he toured Europe.

Nuggets of wisdom from Dr Lee’s travels are relevant for students in Singapore to enrich their educational experience today. Dr Lee’s strong belief was that one needs to immerse oneself in the rich variety of cultures to interact locally with Chinese, Malay, Indian, Eurasian, and Peranakan alike. Another gem from Dr Lee was to experience the world by “[maximizing one’s] senses.” Dr Lee encouraged students to open their eyes to enjoy the beauty of every country, to be sensitive to natural sounds and expose themselves to different music, to stop and smell the roses, to enjoy tasting and to understand the world through touch.

Singapore’s Cultural Journey, 1990 to 2010: Some Personal Reflections
Monday, 27 Dec 2010

As a young man, Prof Tommy Koh dreamt that Singapore would one day become “a culture-loving country”, with “a cultured people who read books, listen to music, enjoy[ed] theatre, dance and opera”. This would be facilitated by world class centres for the performing arts and great museums that produced a growing community of artists whose achievements would be recognized and valued by society. How far has this vision been realized?

Tags : singapore

The Good, the Bad, and the Sholay by Shiv Tandan
Wednesday, 22 Dec 2010

The theatre highlight of NUS Arts Festival 2011, The Good, the Bad, and the Sholay is a play with a personal tinge by 20-year-old industrial and systems engineering undergrad, Shiv Tandan, who is also in the University Scholars Programme. Hailing from Ambala, India, Tandan won the Best Film Award at the global Faith Shorts competition’s amateur category for 18 – 25 year olds, organised by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation in July 2010.

Tags : the good

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