Letters to Dance Collecting favorite dances in Berlin, Tel Aviv, New York, Düsseldorf, Los Angeles, Brussels ... Just ahead: Singapore, Rio de Janeiro, Reykjavík.


This is a collection of letters to Dance written by people between the ages of 5–92 from Singapore. They are people of different backgrounds and languages, by those in exile, by visitors, by some who have been born in their city and are still going to school, others who are working or looking for work, and by people who are coming to terms with the aging process. What these writers have in common is that they are examining their own relationship with Dance and dancing, and that they are telling their stories to Dance. A letter is always begun by addressing the recipient, and this first impulse encourages a correspondence. This form allows every possible expression, any language and any style. Hate and anger, love and desire, grief and dreams are all found here. In the project’s four workshops, Dance received more than 600 love letters, funny anecdotes, life stories, confessions, and more than a few jibes. Dance was addressed as best friend and lover, as well as enemy, therapist, scapegoat, and projection.

How were these letters obtained? In the frame of the choreographic project called “Just in Time”, between Oct. 5th and Oct. 17th 2019, we travelled to Singapore on the invitation of Dance Nucleus. The four local dancers and choreographers Faye Lim, Hasyimah Harith, Shanice Stanislaus, and Chan Sze-Wei helped us organise 4 workshops with very different groups of people. We went to meet the people who live in this city, to speak with them about Dance, to dance together and to write letters. The letters are documents and snapshots of those meetings, often written in less than half an hour. In addition to the letters, we also organised a final ball in every city, to which we invited all letter writers and those interested in Dance. During the ball everyone danced the favourite movements of their city, which we collected from the letter writers and rewrote into choreographic instructions. You will find these movements in this collection as well: perhaps they will motivate people to dance together, not to hover alone near the dance floor!

With this e-book we give our readers all the handwritten letters that we collected in Singapore. We hope you allow yourself to be addressed by Dance, and to remain open to all of its appearances, wherever they may occur.

deufert&plischke, Berlin, Oct. 2019

Workshop 1

This workshop was attended by families with young children, and so we had participants as young as 3 years old sharing their favourite dance movements and authoring their own letters to Dance.

Dear Dance, I love seeing through the lens you offer.
Dear Dance, I envision a world that understands you deeper.
I love that if I start to blame other people for limiting you and making you smaller than you really are, you gently remind me that I do that too, that you are much, much, much, much, much, much bigger and better than the limits of my imagination.

Workshop 2

This workshop engaged traditional dance practitioners and working professionals.

Remember how you taught me to get lots of applause? We would challenge each other. Who is better in stealing all the applause. We would buy happiness, egos, and new clothes with all of that applause.
There have been countless times when I have questioned why am I still here, when will I stop dancing, why am I making myself tired on purpose. But at the end of the day, I've never found this happiness you give me anywhere else.
Dear Dance, you've enabled me to feel much more than I would have allowed myself.

Workshop 3

Communities experiencing illness or caregiving were invited to this workshop. Here, we had some of our oldest participants of 70 to 80 years old.

Let's have a lifetime of adventure and fun together as we go places and touch lives!!
As my body deteriorates, you will be something I would continue to hold onto tighter and to cherish.

Workshop 4

The participants of this workshop mainly consisted of the street dance community – Waackers, Voguers, Breakdancers, and Hip Hop dancers.

I have learnt that there is no good and bad dance, strength and weakness in dance. We can always dance in good or bad health.
You opened so many doors for me. My personality, friends, and values all were from you. I am still changing, but I am glad I am, thanks to you.
I hope to tell whoever reads this if ever you think dance brings any form of unhappiness to you: Be patient, learn to listen to her through your body and enjoy the process.
Dear Dance, Thank you for bringing so much joy to my children. It brings me back to forgotten freedom and voice of expression.