About the Festival
Fondly known as “CONTACT” to the local dance community, M1 CONTACT Contemporary Dance Festival began in 2010 to promote contemporary dance in Singapore. Since then, it has become a pillar event that brings growth to the local dance scene.
Helmed by T.H.E Dance Company’s Artistic Director, Kuik Swee Boon, this artist-led Festival pursues an attitude of openness where every individual’s point of view is valued. In recent years, it has gradually allowed different voices to enter and shape its programmes.
Photo by Kuang Jingkai
Artists & Guests
Kuik’s exceptional artistry led him to receive a nomination in 2003 for the Benois De La Danse Award. In 2007, he was awarded the Young Artist Award from National Arts Council of Singapore (NAC). He founded T.H.E Dance Company in September 2008. Since its establishment, T.H.E has quickly ascended to become a well-known company in Singapore and Asia. His critically acclaimed works include Silence (2007), As It Fades (2011), collaboration works Re:OK ...BUT! (2011), and Above 40 (2015), all of which were recognised as one of the best shows in their respective years. Kuik’s works have also toured to prestigious international festivals, such as Les Hivernales Festival in Avignon, France where they performed the festival’s closing event.
Photo by Joie Koo
In the past 11 years in C/Ompany, Oue has created and performed numerous works, such as bo.le.ro in Singapore and Malaysia in 2014 and Dan-su in Japan in 2016.
Prior to C/Ompany, Oue’s career includes dancing for Nederlands Dans Theatre 2, as well as a 3-year stint at Sweden’s leading repertoire company for contemporary dance, Cullbergbaletten. A freelance artist since 1999, Oue has created several works and won prizes in various choreography competitions, including the first prize at Hannover International Choreography Competition in 2005.
Dancer and choreographer Kitt Johnson is one of a kind in the Danish dance and performance scene. For more than 25 years, she has been developing her own artistic universe; a universe that is at once minimalist, expressive and innovative. Her work is characterised by extreme body control and a unique feel for simple but effective stage effects, and she uses these effects to create intense, physical and visual transformations that explore the deepest layers of human existence.
Johnson has a background in elite athletics, modern and contemporary dance, contact improvisation, butoh, martial arts and German expressionist theatre. As a dancer and choreographer she has worked with Mark Tompkins, Nobert Stockheim, Sacha Waltz, Anita Saij and other leading figures in these fields.
Johnson’s trademark is solo performance, but her repertoire is broad and also includes many ensemble works, new circus, site-specific work and productions designed for children. She also organises and curates performance festivals, including the site-specific concept MELLEMRUM, contributing to her ambition to create a platform from which Danish and international performing arts can engage in dialogue and share experiences.
With universal themes and minimalist idioms, Johnson’s works are attractive abroad, and since early on in her career she has toured the length and width of Denmark and many other countries. In addition to her own works, she is continually involved as an artistic consultant in other projects, as well as a sought-after public speaker, teacher and workshop organiser in many different contexts.
Over the years her work has been widely acknowledged through a range of awards, nominations and grants in Denmark and abroad. In 1999, she received a Reumert nomination for Stigma, and received the Danish Arts Foundation’s award for the same piece; in 2003 she won a Reumert for Best Dance Production with The Mirror. In 2003 she made the New York Times’ Top Ten list of dance experiences of the year, and the NOW Toronto list in 2004 with The Lemonkeepers and Stigma. She was awarded the Danish Stage Directors Award of Honour in 2008, received the Haslund Award of Honour in 2009, and the award for most innovative work for DRIFT or drive at the INFANT festival in Serbia in 2013. Nominations also include a Dora for Dance Production of the Year for Rankefod in Toronto 2009, and the Danish Theatre Journalists’ Theater Cup, 2011.
Most recently, she was awarded the Danish Reumert as Dancer of the Year 2015 for her performance in POST NO BILLS, which also earned her one of the prestigious grants from the Danish Arts Foundation that same year.
Her work with them gave her the opportunity to perform outside Japan and to cooperate with Japanese filmmakers and photographers when she embarked on her own solo work. In 2013, her solo Highlight of Decline in Japan was awarded The French Embassy Prize for Young Choreographers and the MASDANZA Prize at Yokohama Dance Collection EX-2013. Highlight of Decline was also awarded the Jury Prize at MASDANZA in the same year. To date, this piece has replayed 13 times in 5 countries such as Tokyo, Spain, Panama, Singapore and Malaysia.
Miwa’s study of Indonesian Martial Arts and Yoga forms the foundation of her choreography. This encompasses her video work (the extension of her inner self) and her sublime body movements, overtaking the performance space with an aim to reach/touch the innermost beings of her audience, to transport them to the rhythm of her moves, accompanied by the the background music, skin; flesh; blood; bones, and the projection of her postures and movements onto the screen.
In 2013, she created a piece in France (Coregraphique national de Rillieux-la-Pape, Centre choregraphique national de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussion, Vivarium Studio/Philippe Quesne). In 2014, she was invited to T.H.E Dance Company in Singapore as a choreographer and visual artist, where she collaborated with Malaysian dancer and choreographer, Lee Ren Xin, to create The Body Speaks. This piece was picked up as ``the most solid of the three (works)“ by the local media newspaper TODAY in Singapore.
In the same year, she founded her company, N///K, with composer Yohey Fujishiro. They have worked together since 2012 with the aim of creating a space filled with images and energy.
Since 2015, Miwa has also been studying inter-media art to pursue her work at graduate school, Tokyo University of the Arts.
Kim has been Resident Choreographer of T.H.E Dance Company in Singapore since 2010. To date his international choreographic and performance projects have taken him across Asia (Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore), Europe (Netherlands, Belgium), and Latin American (Brazil, Argentina, Columbia). With his extensive international experience, Kim founded Modern Table Dance Company in 2013 and currently serves as its Artistic / Creative Director and Principal Choreographer. Key projects thereafter include Tension Espacial choreographed and directed by Kim on invitation from Argentina Nacional de Danza contemporánea in 2015, and Camping ete hosted by France's Centre National de la Danse, attending as Korea’s representative. For 2017, he was active in NPO Dance Box in Kobe, Japan, New Zealand Dance Company, and Bale Teatro Castro Alves in Salvador, Brazil as a residency choreographer. Other works in his creation repertoire include: Kick, Awake, Joker's Blues, Clocker, Sinawi, Smile, and Earthquake.
At home and abroad, Kim is one of the most sought after choreographers, creating cross-genre, interdisciplinary work. His dynamic curves, rapid movements, and ability to re-interpret traditional Korean forms in modern ways, are unique signatures of Kim’s work. His talents also extend to music: in 2009, he participated as a vocalist for Don’t want to fall in love, the O.S.T for the movie Dream directed by Kim-Ki-duk, and he composes original music for almost all his choreographic work. His method of producing is more intuitive and ‘Dionysus’, than structural.
Lee first started choreographing in 2009 in T.H.E Dance Company's Emerging Choreographers, curated by her then-mentor Kuik Swee Boon. Her work, B.E.D., supported by the Krishen Jit Astro Fund 2014, was presented in five different chapters in Malaysia, Festival BO:M 2015 in Seoul, and Festival/Tokyo 2016, with a brief residency at the Morishita Studios. In 2016, Lee was also invited as a Fellowship Grantee to the Festival Teaterformen in Braunschweig, Germany.
In 2017, she collaborated with Singaporean dance artist Lee Mun Wai for their duet Where's the speficifisfety?, and presented a work-in-progress, Spare Rib? Spare Me!, at the Incheon Arts Platform during a short residency in South Korea. She also experimented with an initial version of her Private Dance Show project in KL. She collaborated to devise and perform Version 2020 led by Mark Teh of Five Arts Centre in Malaysia. The work has toured to Festival SpielArt in Munich and to Theater Commons Tokyo, before showing at home in Kuala Lumpur March 2018.
Lee Ren Xin has been working on a long-term research based on daily ritual/practice, investigating and inhabiting the local neighbourhood and city. In April 2018, she was invited as an artist-in-residence by the Department of Cultural Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong for research and creation.
Wee was involved in all Arts Fission productions and community projects. Some notable performances include,Temple Reimagined (2013): a dance film, Make It New: Future Feed (2014): a collaboration with Irene K Compagnie and presented in Belgium, In the Name of Red (2015): a site specific performance commissioned by National Gallery Singapore, Fire Monkey: a site specific performance under the arts festival of Mapping Melbourne (2016), and again at Northcote Townhall, Melbourne (2018), with many more in his repertoire.
Wee is currently a freelance artist who is actively choreographing, performing and teaching.
During her 5 years abroad, Chong was part of the teaching faculty at the University of Auckland Dance Studies programme, where she specialised in contemporary techniques and the creative process of dance. Her context in choreography and dance education moves between Singapore, New Zealand, and China. She has also been invited to be an international guest teacher at Beijing Dance Academy, China, and Dulwich International College Seoul, South Korea.
In 2016, Chong was part of the Short+Sweet New Zealand Festival (Dance), where she was awarded the Standout Female Performer Award, as well as The Wallace Arts Trust Highly Commended Award, for her self-choreographed solo, Duality.
Having returned to Singapore early last year, Chong hopes to continue developing her dance practice within the local dance scene.
In addition to her regular attendance from the years 2011 to 2017, Giustina has received vocational training in contemporary dance in Progetto Azione, consisting of monthly masterclasses with Tuscan choreographers, the yearly Carolyn Carlson’s one-week masterclass at the Atelier de Paris and the vocational training in Nikolais technique held by Simona Bucci and Paolo Mereu in Florence. Through these courses, Giustina continued to hone her skills and refine her art.
Most recently, Giustina has been involved in works such as La scomparsa delle lucciole by Gianfranco Pedullà, Nata Femmina by Paola Vezzosi-Compagnia ADARTE in 2017, Alla Montagna by Sabrina Mazzuoli, Re-Mark by Sang Jijia, and Sea Rant by Company Blu/Alessandro Certini and Charlotte Zerbey in 2018.
Venturing into choreography, she has also created several solo pieces. Mutamenti (2018) was selected for the Fabbrica Europa 2018 Festival in Florence, and was crowned the winner project of TenDance 2018 in Italy. Her work Destinata Guerriera (2017) was selected for Vetrina del Network Antcorpi XL platform, the Essenziale Festival in Germany and the Solo Dance Contest Gdanski Festiwal Tanca in Poland in 2018.
While pursuing an undergraduate degree in Drama, Art and Music at the University of Florence, Giustina is also creating a new piece together with Danish director Karin Grand and musicians Francesco Giorgi and Francesco Gherardi. This work focuses on the interaction of dance, music and video and will debut at the Festival Fabbrica Europa 2019.