Dance Marathon - OPEN WITH A PUNK SPIRIT!: Gala Opening

Ng Yi-Sheng

August 26, 2015

For some reason no-one tells me these Gala Openings are happening (or else they tell me, and I forget, but it's still their fault because they didn't remindme).

Anyhow, I was happily trotting along to Tanjong Pagar Railway Station for Real Reality/Lay/ered, pleased that I was early for once, and it's terribly nice to see the old colonial edifice that I came to know so intimately during 15 Stations...

... and I'm beginning to wonder why there's so many people milling around the front gates. I mean, this is a mini-festival, isn't it?

Turns out there was wine and tempura and macarons. You can get anyone to turn up if you tell them there'll be wine and tempura and macarons. If you managed to convince NASA there was wine and tempura and macarons on Alpha Centauri, we'd have a space travel revolution in a matter of minutes.


Turns out a lot of the delegation was official Japanese ambassadorial folks. Mikuni Yanaihara, the choreographer behind Real/Reality, has been awarded the title of Cultural Envoy by the government of Japan. And it's pretty rare to give that honour to a practitioner of contemporary arts!

She's been put in charge of enlightening Southeast Asia, so we'll probably be seeing her regularly over the next few years.


Turns out that Tanjong Pagar Railway Station is a really good place to hold a dance festival. There's vast ceilings, evocatively ageing colonial architecture, and a variety of spaces which performers can employ for their shows. Yukio Suzuki actually did Layer/ed on the tracks themselves, while the audience gawped on the platform.

As for Yanaihara, she chose the main hall. I was lucky: I managed to get a second-row seat.

I'd assumed the first row was being left empty for VIPs, but then I remembered it's the Seventh Month of the Chinese Calendar, and traditionally front seats are left empty so that hungry ghosts can watch the show.


As it turned out, the biggest reason to be scared of Tanjong Pagar Railway Station was the heat. There's fans, but there's no air-conditioning. Folks were sweltering.

Lucky for me, I planned ahead and dressed down in T-shirt and shorts.

Look upon my swag, ye mortals, and despair.

  • 2015