Southeast Asian Choreolab 2016

Southeast Asian Choreolab 2016


Emerging contemporary dance choreographers from Southeast Asia are invited to apply for this international choreographic laboratory, facilitated by Japanese choreographer Akiko Kitamura, at Rimbun Dahan, from 28 May to 5 June 2016.

Download the Call for Applications. [PDF 518kb]

Download the Application Form.  [Word doc 37kb]


Applications are due by the end of Monday 15 February 2016.

Project Format

14 chosen choreographers will live, work and explore together in the arts community of Rimbun Dahan for 9 days, with guidance from our international facilitator, Japanese choreographer Akiko Kitamura.

The program will consist of 7 work days with 2 days of study-tour. Work days will take place in the dance studio at Rimbun Dahan and will consist of sessions exploring choreographic methods, analysis and movement techniques led by Akiko Kitamura and the participants themselves.

Other activities include artists talks by invited guest artists, live performance viewing, and informal socialising and discussions.

The first study tour day will explore the main arts institutions in and around Kuala Lumpur. The second study tour day will give your bodies and minds a break, with a trip to the coastal town of Kuala Selangor, its nature park, monkey-feeding at a historic site, seafood dinner and a river trip to see fireflies.

The exact program may evolve during the choreolab, to remain flexible, organic and response to the specific profiles of the participants.

Project Aims

To support and enable emerging Southeast Asian contemporary dance choreographers to

  1. Adopt new choreographic tools and physical, thematic and conceptual approaches to enrich their artistic practice;
  2. Develop regional networks among their peers and with regional dance institutions, for knowledge sharing, future artistic collaboration and touring;
  3. Experience works of art, cultures, places and histories beyond their home, to increase international understanding and to help contextualize their artistic practice.

We hope you will have a positive and enjoyable experience at the SEA Choreolab, which will reenergize you and help you reaffirm your commitment to your artistic practice. We would like the choreolab and the networks you establish here to be an ongoing resource to which you may return for inspiration, refreshment, respite and a sense of continual community.

Who we’re looking for

  • Emerging contemporary dance choreographers, aged 35 or under, or who began creating contemporary work within the last five years. Artists who create performance art or physical theatre works are also eligible.
  • You should have established a professional or semi-professional practice, and have created at least 3 short works or 1 full-length work.
  • Citizen of and resident in an ASEAN country (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam) or Papua New Guinea or East Timor.
  • Able to communicate functionally in English.
  • Excited to increase your knowledge base, share your practice and establish networks with your international peers.

What the project will provide

  • Twin-share accommodation at Rimbun Dahan.
  • Entry to all the project activities, including classes, study trips, facilitated sessions, and performances.
  • 3 meals per day during the project.
  • Transfer to/from airport or bus terminal (subject to conditions).

What you need to provide

  • Return airfare to Kuala Lumpur (the city is well-connected by low-cost airlines).
  • Travel insurance (and visa for Myanmar, East Timor & PNG only)
  • One session during the project (maximum 1 hour) in which you will lead the other participants through a choreographic method, thematic exploration, dance technique or artistic question. This session will be discussed and developed with the choreolab organisers.

To apply

Download the Application Form from here and return it to

by the end of Monday 15 February 2016.

For questions or more information

Contact Bilqis Hijjas, MyDance Alliance, Malaysia, +6017 310 3769.

Akiko Kitamura profile imageAbout Akiko Kitamura, facilitator

Akiko Kitamura was born in 1970 in Tokyo. She learned ballet dance and street dance in her youth, studied dance theory at Waseda University and began to build a professional career as a choreographer in show business while still in her teens. She choreographed many pieces for commercial films, fashion shows and plays. In 1994, she founded her own company Leni-Basso. In 1995-1996, she stayed in Germany for a year as a resident artist.

In 2001 she was invited to the Bates Dance Festival and created Finks, one of her best known works, performed more than 60 times worldwide. Ghostly Round (2005), choreographed for In Transit organised by Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), is another of her signature works which has toured internationally. Akiko Kitamura has made many works for international companies, commissions and collaborations such as for American Dance Festival, Group Motion Dance Company in Philadelphia, ACE Dance and Music of Birmingham, and avant-garde rock group Art Zoyd in France.

Akiko started to learn pencak silat in 2004 according to a strong interest in the body techniques of South East Asia, and in 2010 she came to Indonesia to research dance, music and martial arts more deeply. In 2011, she started to collaborate with Indonesian artists including choreographer/dancer Martinus Miroto, Yudi Ahmad Tajudin (Teater Garasi), dancer Rianto, musicians Kill the DJ (Jogja Hip Hop Foundation), Slamet Gundono, and Endah Laras, and a team of Japanese artists to create the To Belong Series, such as To Belong-cyclonicdream- (2013) and To Belong/Suwung (2014). The work explores how two cultures meet, and connects the old world to the contemporary using video, music and dance. It also aims to discover the new generation of the Asian Body: the repository of the traditional and the contemporary worlds.

In 2015, Akiko was an Asian Cultural Council Fellow and a Saison Foundation Fellow. Since 2001 Akiko Kitamura has taught at Shinshu University, Nagano, as associate professor of the Faculty of Arts.

The Southeast Asian Choreolab 2016 is a joint project by

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Supported by

JFKL-Logo_KL_smallerMyDance Alliance Logo Smallaswara_logo

SEA Choreolab 2015

SEA Choreolab 2015

From 30 May to 7 June 2015, Rimbun Dahan hosted the Southeast Asian Choreolab 2015, a meeting of 15 emerging contemporary dance choreographers from Southeast Asia.

This was the second edition of the Southeast Asian Choreolab, which brings together emerging contemporary dance choreographers from Southeast asia. The participants in 2015 are from Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. They worked under facilitator Arco Renz, a German choreographer based in Brussels.

Each of the participants had the opportunity to run their own group session during the Choreolab, sharing their particular movement style or choreographic method. Arco led the group in integrating this material into choreographic and analytical exercises. ‘Zeitguest’ speakers about topics not related to dance also addressed the group, providing impetus information about ‘real world’ topics: regional security, economics and marine biogeography.

The group went on a field trip to Kuala Selangor, a tour of Klang Valley arts institutions Temple of Fine Arts, ASWARA, DPAC and klpac, and watched performances by Dua Space, Pierre Rigal Compagnie and Wild Rice.

On the final day of the Choreolab, the participants of the Southeast Asian Choreolab 2015 shared snippets of their studio exercises during the event with a small audience.

The Southeast Asian Choreolab 2015 is supported by Goethe-Institut Malaysia, and hosted by Rimbun Dahan. It is a joint project between MyDance Alliance and World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific.

See more images from the 2015 SEA Choreolab here.

About the Participants

The participants of the 2015 SEA Choreolab were:

  • “Ong” Nitipat Pholchai (Thailand)
  • Sonoko Prow (Thailand)
  • Faillul Adam (Malaysia)
  • Tan Bee Hung (Malaysia)
  • Japhet Mari M. Cabling (Philippines)
  • Lygie Carillo (Philippines)
  • Al Bernard Garcia (Philippines)
  • Siko Setyananto (Indonesia)
  • Darlane Litaay (Indonesia)
  • Fadilla Oziana (Indonesia)
  • Chy Ratana (Cambodia)
  • “Kaka” Ounla Phaoudom (Laos)
  • “Buddha” Thanh Nguyen Duy (Vietnam)
  • Eng Kai Er (Singapore)
  • Foo Yun Ying (Singapore)

About the Facilitator

aRco_Chalon_DSC_4991_Crop_0-bg-300x317Arco Renz productions with Kobalt Works reveal an intense physicality and explore the emotional force of abstraction.

In his creations, he consistently broadens the principles of Abstract Dramaturgy to light, sound and multimedia interfaces; and his choreographies go beyond pure, formal dance, displaying “a graceful expressionism that can be situated somewhere between the German expressionist films of the 1920s and traditional Eastern dance and theatre forms.”

During 2014 and 2015, Kobalt Works|Arco Renz is engaged in collaborative performance projects of very different nature in Indonesia (KRIS IS), Vietnam (Hanoi Stardust), the Philippines (COKE), and Singapore (ALPHA).

Among over 20 evening length choreographies, other major Kobalt Works’ productions include .states. (2001), Mirth (2002), heroïne (2004), Bullitt (2006), i!2 (2008), PA (2009), 1001 (2010), CRACK (2011), solid.states (2012), or Discografie (2013).

In addition, Arco Renz has regularly created commissioned works for the Brussels Opera House, the Festival d’Art Lyrique d’Aix en Provence, the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, the Norvegian National Company of Contemporary Dance, among others. In the field of opera he has extensively worked with Robert Wilson, Luc Bondy and on several occasions with Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker.

A central focus within Arco’s specific choreographic idiom is the comparative study of various Asian and European performance traditions. He has developed Monsoon, a series of transcultural and multidisciplinary research and
exchange programs with editions in Asia, Europe and coming up in 2015 in Australia. Arco Renz studied dance, theatre, and literature in Berlin and Paris and was one of the first generation of graduates of P.A.R.T.S., the dance school founded by Anne Teresa De Keermaekers in Brussels.

Work It!

Work It!

Image: Doris Uhlich in 'Rising Swan', photo: Andrea Salzmann.

Work It! was a project bringing together female performing artists from Asia and Europe whose work revolves around the gendered depiction of the body on stage. For 10 days in November 2012, these artists met in Kuala Lumpur to share their artistic practice, create new networks and explore their diverse understandings of feminism.

Participating artists:

  • Cynthia Ling Lee (Taiwan/USA)
  • Rita Natalio (Portugal)
  • Donna Miranda (Philippines)
  • Joavien Ng (Singapore)
  • Cuqui Jerez (Spain)
  • Doris Uhlich (Austria)
  • Naomi Srikandi (Indonesia)
  • Mia Habib (Norway)
  • Geumhyung Jeong (Korea)
  • Un Yamada (Japan)
  • Margarita Tsomou (Greece/Germany)
  • Mislina Mustaffa (Malaysia)

Download: Work_It!_Press_Release
Download: Work_It!_Participant_Bios

Teater Garasi, in a play directed by Naomi Srikandi.Public Performances

2 nights of sharing their work and perspectives

Program A: 8.30pm, Friday 9 Nov
Program B: 8.30pm, Saturday 10 Nov

Venue: The Black Box, MAP @ Publika, Solaris Dutamas

How do you perform a woman onstage? How do you negotiate how a society regulates work, power, sex and truth? What is creativity’s reaction to convention? And how will women thrive in the performing arts in the current global climate?

The Work It! public showing tackled these questions with theatre, dance, music and good old fashioned women’s wit.

Entry by donation at the door
RM 20 regular, RM 15 for students, seniors & MyDance Alliance members.
Q&A session with the artists following the performance.

Cuqui Jerez, 'Croquis Reloaded'. Work It! Open Studio

The focus of the Work It! project is on the week of closed-door studio sessions for the participants at Rimbun Dahan, in which they will be sharing and developing their arts practice with each other. For one afternoon only, join the artists in an open studio session to get a taste of the Work It! project. All practicing artists, in visual or performing arts, and both male and female, are invited to attend.

2-5pm, Wednesday 14 November 2012
The Dance Studio at Rimbun Dahan

Free entry, but attendance is limited, so please register by emailing with your name, phone number, and brief bio.

Donna Miranda. Photo: Brendan Goco.

Work It! Panel Discussion

At the conclusion of the 10-day project, the participants of Work It! will present a public panel discussion to discuss the process of the closed-door discussions at Rimbun Dahan and to share their findings.

2-5pm, Saturday 17 November 2012
Annexe Central Market
Free Entry

Work It! was co-produced by Bilqis Hijjas of Rimbun Dahan, Anna Wagner (Germany) and Fumi Yokobori (Japan).

Main Sponsors


Supported by

JFKL  wao

Public performance venue sponsor



Opening of APIDC 2011

Opening of APIDC 2011


Rimbun Dahan hosted the participants of the Asia-Pacific International Dance Conference 2011 for a welcome dinner in the Underground Gallery on 21 September 2011.

Dancers from the KESUMA Ensemble from University of Malaya provided a post-dinner show in the Dance Studio at Rimbun Dahan for the assembled guests, displaying the grace and diversity of classical and folk Malay dances to live musical accompaniment. The evening closed with an impromptu joget party, with audience members joining in!

The Asia-Pacific International Dance Conference brought more than 200 local and international dance academics together to discuss the theme of hybridity in dance, and how it is transmitted, performed, researched and written. The conference was organised by the Cultural Centre, University of Malaya, and Jabatan Kebudayaan & Kesenian Negara, and was held at the Royale Bintang Hotel from 22 to 25 September.

All photos by Syaffiq Hambali.

Dance Film ‘I Want to Remember’

Dance Film ‘I Want to Remember’


Singaporean director Sherman Ong shot some of the material for his short dance film, I Want to Remember, at Rimbun Dahan in April 2011.

sherman2A man in an interrogation room remembers his time with his lover when the two countries were one. When the countries separated in 1965, his lover ended their relationship to follow her family. He remembers his carefree past with laughter and tenderness, disappointments and sadness, but never with regret.

I Want to Remember is a dance film premiering at the Singapore Arts Festival 2011, supported by Rimbun Dahan.
Dancers: Mohd Hanafi Bin Rosdi, Ng Xin Ying.
Actors: Dato Rahim Razali, Foo Fei Ling.
DOP: Lesly Leon Lee
Editor/Sound: Azharr Rudin
Music: John Chua
and Lena by Azmyl Yunor

With thanks to Yuni Hadi, Lim How Ngean, Marion D’Cruz, Bilqis Hijjas & ASWARA.

Dance Shorts III: I Want to Remember

28 May 6.45pm | 80mins (Post show dialogue after the screening)
4 June 6.45pm | 70 mins
Venue: Cinema Europa, Golden Village VivoCity, Singapore

Gesek-Gosok by ASWARA Work Placement Students

Gesek-Gosok by ASWARA Work Placement Students


Two students from the second year of the degree program at ASWARA, Malaysia’s national arts university, spent a month as work placement students at Rimbun Dahan as part of the requirements for their course.

Sufinah Abu Bakar and Shafirul Azmi were linked with the dance programme at Rimbun Dahan from 14 Dec to 8 January. During their time at Rimbun Dahan, they worked on several new dance works, including one for a book launch by the Centre of Orang Asli Affairs and another to ring in the New Year.

Gesek-Gosok was performed on New Year’s Eve in and around the reflective pool at Rimbun Dahan. To Indochine-themed music, the group of seven dancers from ASWARA and Balletbase paraded with parasols, lowered themselves into water troughs, and paddled serenely through the waterlilies, to the great delight of the onlookers. Photographs below by Akshay Sateesh.

Sufinah binti Abu Bakar, now 24, was born in Kuala Lumpur and is currently living in Sungai Buloh. A second year student in the Bachelor of Dance program at ASWARA, Sufinah has been trained in classical Malay dance as well as Chinese dance, Bharatanatyam, folk dance, ballet, contemporary and modern. She has worked with local choreographers such as Joseph Gonzales, Umesh Shetty, Zhou Gui Xin, A. Aris A. Kadir, Shafirul Azmi, Choo Tee Kuang, Loke Soke Kim, and Gan Chih Pei. She has danced in various local ASWARA performances including Jamu, Stepping Out, Langkah, traditional Mak Yong theatre, Randai, Bangsawan, the dance drama Huminodun and Asyik. Sufinah has performed in the musicals Puteri Gunung Ledang, Rubiah and Ibu Zain, and has also performed overseas in ASWARA collaborations in Singapore, with RTM in Brunei, Festival Tari Nusantara in Palembang, Indonesia, and the 6th and 8th Asian Art Festivals in Beijing. Sufinah’s television work includes video clips for Hafiz AF7 and Pisau Cukur, commercials for Mummy Slrpp and BOH Tea, and RTM and TV3 programs.

Originally from Sabah, Shafirul Azmi bin Suhaimi began his career in art when he was 18 years old, as a cultural artist for Lembaga Kebudayaan Negeri Sabah (1998) and Badan Kesenian Negeri Kedah (1999). After receiving his diploma in choreography from ASWARA, Shafirul choreographed for Badan Kesenian Negeri Kedah in 2005 and Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya before continuing his studies at ASWARA for his Bachelors. Shafirul in currently a lecturer at ASWARA as well as a dance artist in the local industry. He has been involved in many contemporary performances including Gerak Angin (Sutra Dance Theatre), Jamming The Box (Nyoba Kan and The Actors Studio), Curfew (Five Arts Center), Spring In Kuala Lumpur (Japan Foundation), AWAS (ASWARA) and The Light Show (Annexe Central Market). His musical work includes Ronggeng Rokiah, ANTARA, P. Ramlee, Kasih Menanti and Tun Abdul Razak at Istana Budaya, and TUNKU at KLPac. His own choreographic works are IBN, Let’s Swim, Kabur, Tabung Uji, Niaki, Pipit, Hari+Hari, Escape, Typhoon, Transporter, Shakti, Tapak 4 and Cik Mah. Shafirul is always looking for unusual ideas for traditional-based art works, and favours productions with a collaborative element.