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(Above) Sylvie Guillem, dubbed the "world's greatest dancer" will perform in a work titled Life In Progress

(Above) Equally anticipated in the lineup is Impulse by Kim Jae Duk and the T.H.E. Dance Company

Guillem headlines da:ns fest

03/07/2015 - 05:50

LEGENDARY dancer Sylvie Guillem will return to Singapore for a two-night performance as part of the Esplanade's 10th annual da:ns festival. The extraordinarily expressive French ballerina was arguably the biggest star of the Paris Opera Ballet and London's Royal Ballet in the 1980s and 1990s before she switched to contemporary dance in the mid-2000s. Since then, she has blazed a different trail as she collaborated with contemporary choreographers to create new works.

Now 50, the woman dubbed the "world's greatest dancer" will perform at the Esplanade on Oct 13 and 14 in a work titled Life In Progress. It is expected to be a poignant show as it is part of her farewell tour before retiring from dance. The evening's programme will comprise two new works choreographed by Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant respectively, as well as two other older pieces by Mats Ek and William Forsythe.

Considering that most ballerinas quit at 40 because their bodies can no longer take the rigours of dance, Guillem's continued artistic relevance has been an extraordinary feat.

Meanwhile, Khan too will be returning to the Esplanade after several performances at the arts centre since 2007. This time, he will perform opposite Spain's leading flamenco dancer Israel Galvan. Khan and Galvan will mine the traditions of kathak and flamenco respectively to present a work titled Torobaka on Oct 16 and 17. When it debuted at London last November, The Times described it as a "blistering dance duel".

Another headliner set to mesmerise audiences is Nederlands Dans Theatre 2. The 56-year-old Nederlands Dans Theater founded the Nederlands Dans Theater 2 (NDT 2) in 1978 as a second company to groom young dancers aged 25 and below. But when NDT 2 showed at the Esplanade in 2013, it received nothing but rapturous applause from the Singapore audience.

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Indeed, Esplanade's programme for its 10th da:ns festival feels almost like a "best of" collection. Esplanade producer Faith Tan says: "When we conceptualised the programmes this year, we wanted to celebrate this special occasion with artists who had performed at Esplanade before and had a connection with our audiences.

"Some productions also mark important milestones in the artists' lives, such as Guillem's last tour as a dancer, and four Singaporean choreographers who are returning to the stage after retiring from performing for seven years or so in Above 40."

The four - Kuik Swee Boon, Silvia Yong, Jeffrey Tan and Albert Tiong - are much-loved figures among local dance lovers.

Equally anticipated in the local lineup is Impulse by Kim Jae Duk and the T.H.E. Dance Company, which have garnered raves in recent years. The new piece takes their collaboration a step further as it will be performed in the backstage spaces of the Esplanade, which will be opened to audiences for the first time.

Veering from the tested, the Esplanade will also be showing for the first time a tango performance starring the renowned Mariela Maldonado and Pablo Sosa. The Argentinian duo, together with their troupe of 14 dancers, are expected to burn the stage with their rapid footwork.

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