Dance group travels to Singapore | The Triangle

Dance group travels to Singapore

The Drexel Dance Ensemble has been invited to Singapore as the only Philadelphia-based group to perform a piece in the 2011 Singapore Youth Festival during International Night July 20.

The festival, which will be held from July 1-29, will feature performances from school performing arts groups across multiple genres and a visual arts exhibition in venues across Singapore.

The Drexel Dance Ensemble will be performing along with six other international dance and music groups from Australia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Germany, as well as those from the Singapore school groups.

With more than 30,000 students participating in the festival, Drexel staff selected only 12 dancers to make the trip through an audition process earlier this year.

Lauren Bilski, a junior at Drexel, was delighted to learn she would be included as one of 12 participating in the festival.

“It was incredible,” Bilski said. “I was walking past [Mario] the Dragon with one of my close friends when I got the email and it was nearly impossible to contain how happy I was. I read the list out loud to her shaking with excitement.”

Out of 30 dancers who auditioned, five freshmen and seven upperclassmen were selected.

“A majority of the dancers in the piece are girls who, before this, I did not know very well and I had never danced with before,” Bilski said. “We are taking risks and trying new things and as a result, really interesting patterns and relationships are being created in the process.”

Drexel dance faculty member Olive Prince, who will also be attending the festival, was given the responsibility of choreographing the contemporary piece, titled “Sea Of Glass,” which the dancers will perform.

“The imagery I used is working with the idea of breaking mirrors and fracturing glass,” Prince said. Her inspiration for the piece came when an artist friend of hers began making hanging glass and mirrored mosaics.

“There is this idea of finding partners and finding couplings and how we keep trying to fit the pieces together,” Prince said. “I’m working with how different stories have different thread lines, different points of view.”

Among the other Drexel staff members attending the festival are professor of dance Mina Estrada and Drexel’s dance program director, Miriam Giguere.

Giguere was largely responsible for garnering Drexel’s invitation to the festival after being invited by the Ministry of Education to be a keynote speaker at the Dance Education Conference in Singapore last September.

“Singapore is very aware of their artistic scene and their multiculturalism so they value the kind of modern or postmodern dance that we’re going to be presenting as much as they value cultural dance,” Giguere said. “That’s a different kind of atmosphere than the way it’s presented in America, where those things are very separate entities; concert, modern dance and cultural dance. I think its very exciting for us to be in an environment where those things are valued together.”

The Drexel Dance Ensemble will be in Singapore from July 15-29. To find out more information about the 2011 Singapore Youth Festival, visit