Exploring brave new worlds

31 March 2017 | Community
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Members of NUS Indian Dance became particles in Sambhavna 2.0 (Photo: Back Alley Creations)

NUS Kent Ridge campus came alive with creativity, culture and debate during NUS Arts Festival 2017, as thousands considered what we want from our own Brave New Worlds.

Where does an idea end and the future begin? When the curtain rose in the University Cultural Centre Hall on 17 March, NUS Dance Ensemble opened ten days of challenging performances with Remember When…, a dance performance developed by the Ensemble’s Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer Mr Zaini Mohammad Tahir together with NUS Geography and NUS Architecture. Dancers shot across the stage in homage to modern Singapore, before reminiscing about days past and the community lifestyle of Singapore’s developing years.

Collaboration between our students, professional artists, and academic faculty...make our students consider the technical and theoretical aspects of their performances while our academic partners view their own research through different eyes.

NUS Stage delivered the debut performance of Edith Podesta’s The Golden Record, which unpacked Carl Sagan’s process of determining what best represents humanity. In contrast, experience clashed with youth and the values of the past were broken by the morality of the new in NUS Chinese Drama’s Dear Miss Ye.

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Carl Sagan negotiated an administrative minefield in The Golden Record (Photo: Kinetic Expressions Photography)

“Exploring the arts and creative ideas is an important part of a well-rounded education,” said NUS Centre For the Arts (CFA) Director, Ms Sharon Tan. “More than 800 students and 150 alumni were involved in the festival, and over 8,000 attended the performances, events and talks.”

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Leslie Low (guitar and vocals) with Cheryl Ong (drums) were among the musicians who performed Vibrational (Photo: Back Alley Creations)

Unusual ideas permeated the Festival with visiting artists playing a major role. Science and the arts merged in Sambhavna 2.0 by NUS Indian Dance and the Centre for Quantum Technologies as Bharatanatyam dance, multimedia and poetry examined quantum entanglement. Karla Kracht from Germany and Spaniard Andrés Beladiez performed their dystopic video art performance piece 2062, while The Quantum Music Project finally arrived in Singapore, having been developed by academics, engineers and musicians from NUS, England and Serbia.

“Collaboration between our students, professional artists, and academic faculty is at its heart,” Ms Tan continued. “These partnerships blend creativity with the latest thinking; they make our students consider the technical and theoretical aspects of their performances while our academic partners view their own research through different eyes.”

To close the Festival, local art rock group The Observatory partnered with NUS Guitar Ensemble and NUS Talents to perform Vibrational, a rock performance that saw 34 guitarists, working together, to bring the house down.

By NUS Centre For the Arts