The Vault: Distilling the Dance

A curatorial experiment in presenting dance beyond the frame of performance

Kiran Kumar is a Singapore-based independent interdisciplinary artist whose practice is dance-centric. About a decade ago, Kiran took an audio-guided walk around Little India conceived by spell#7, a Singapore performance company whose site-specific, environmental audio works weave history, culture and politics into everyday life. Titled Desire Paths, a voice from an earpiece guided Kiran through the landmarks, streets and people of the historic neighbourhood. The experience of simultaneously being both audience and performer has stayed with him since.

In 2016, Kiran responds to the audio archives of spell #7’s Desire Paths in an investigation of the performer’s and audience’s positions in dance. In this instalment of The Vault, in conjunction with the Dance Nucleus ELEMENT residency programme, Kiran seeks to challenge the convention of “spectators watching dancers perform” through four configurations of movement, text and image: an essay-performance, an audio-installation, an exhibition and a workshop. Together, the four configurations may be seen as a curatorial experiment in presenting dance beyond the frame of performance.


Event Details: 

There are four components in this entire presentation spanning 5 days from 2 – 6 July 2016:

Essay-performance: ‘Dear Dead Dancer’

  • 2 July, 3.30pm @ Centre 42 Black Box. Registration required, click here.
  • 4 July, 8.00pm @ Dance Nucleus Studio. Registration required, click here.

Audio-installation: ‘There is no dance’

  • 2 July – 6 July, 5.00pm – 10.00pm daily
  • Centre 42 Black Box. Free admission.

Exhibition: ‘Expanded Writing’

  • 2 July – 6 July, 5.00pm – 10.00pm daily
  • Centre 42 Library. Free admission.

Workshop: ‘Distilling the Dance: Somatic Principles’

  • 5 July, 7.30pm@ Dance Nucleus Studio. Registration required, click here.


About Kiran Kumar:

As an artist, Kiran’s interest is in the making of reflexive spaces for people to inhabit. These are spaces for meditation as much as they are spaces for thought; these are spaces for action as much as for observation. His intention is for these spaces to be inviting, insightful and somehow infinite. Such spaces are activated through his experience of dance, of music, of poetry and of light. With a desire to make such or similar spaces accessible to others, he often makes configurations of images, objects, actions and text, which are open to visitors.

Part of the craft of making reflexive spaces, has been a practice of ‘expanded writing’. The present focus of his writing practice is with two forms: the ‘axiom’ and the ‘anecdote’. While they are each terse and economical in their own right, between the axiomatic and the anecdotal, there is a range of fictionalization to work with.

See more of Kiran’s work here.


About Dance Nucleus:

Dance Nucleus is an independent dance house, directed and managed by industry practitioners for artists, a home for artists to develop their artistic practice and craft. Dance Nucleus aims to inspire artists, allowing them to initiate ideas, projects and conversations, by providing them with the space and time to incubate these ideas and projects in fruition. ELEMENT is Dance Nucleus’ artist-in-residence programme focusing on movement and choreographic research practice. It supports rigorous discourse, research and wide-ranging experimentation in all movement-based forms, so as to nurture new movement and choreographic expression. Kiran Kumar is the first artist-in-residence under this programme (January – June 2016).
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Find out more about the ELEMENT residency programme here.

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Missed the presentation?


Access video and image documentation from Distilling the Dance right here!


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The Vault: Distilling the Dance is the first of three presentations focusing on local dance-makers’ responses to Singapore play-text. This is a part-research-part-presentation endeavour to investigate movement in space and the body through inspired by play-texts. In Distilling the Dance, dance artist Kiran Kumar works with spell #7’s audio archives.