Yishun is Burning
Ritual ecstasy from a Singapore suburb
Shamanism meets voguing meets queer in the multimedia dance performance Yishun is Burning, an ultra-dynamic quest for the rituals of our time. Tradition and hyperrealism meet in live performance and documentary from Yishun, Singapore's dark suburb. With this performance, choreographer Choy Ka Fai delivers a colourful omnibus for freedom of expression and makes a passionate appeal for an expanded consciousness.
Run time 60 minutes
Location Theater Bellevue
Venue Grote Zaal
Yishun is Burning
Singapore is known as an authoritarian city-state, where freedom of expression is anything but a given. In its somewhat dark and elusive suburb Yishun, there is however, still room for religious acts, celebrations, and rituals. They unmistakably belong to the collective spiritual consciousness, but in a highly globalised Asia there seems to be ever less room for them.
Thirty years after the iconic documentary Paris is Burning about the voguing ballroom scene in New York, choreographer Choy Ka Fai's Yishun is Burning goes in search of old and new movement traditions and contemporary spirituality in dance. Voguing stands alongside shamanic rituals and Singaporean dances in a dazzling dance festival that crosses all boundaries of gender, race, and religion.
Inspired by the Singaporean ritual worship of gods in their struggle against evil, dancer Sun Phitthaya Phaefuang (a.k.a. Amazon Sun), rising star of the Southeast Asian vogue scene, reaches all possible states of ecstasy, exuberantly shifting between trance and queerness.
The spectator is swept back and forth between documentary film material and real-life performance. We travel to the lively streets of Yishun, where we witness all kinds of religious celebrations. By means of interviews with, among others, a shaman, the relationship with the body, sexuality and transcendence is questioned.
In this colourful world, vogue and queerness are the connecting factors between here and there, between now and then.
concept, documentary and direction Choy Ka Fai
dramaturgy Tang Fu-Kuen
spiritual presence Kali and Kuan Yin
choreography and dance performance Sun Phitthaya Phaefuang
sound design and musical performance NADA (Rizman Putra & Safuan Johari) and Cheryl Ong
3D Visual Design and technology Brandon Tay
lighting design, installation and technical direction Ray Tseng
visual artist Sven Gareis / telematique
stage management and operator Sanja Gergorić
technical direction Singapore Studio - ARTFACTORY
tour manager Tammo Walter
production manager Mara Nedelcu
guest dancers tbc
Yishun is Burning is developed with the support of tanzhaus nrw Dusseldorf and Singapore Art Museum.
Additional support was received from the Nationales Performance Netz (NPN) Coproduction Fund for Dance, which is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Germany.
The research process was supported by the National Arts Council, Singapore and Kunststiftung NRW, Germany