The Scarlet Mela Festival of the Arts (SMFA) is a platform to celebrate, facilitate, and incubate young and upcoming independent traditional arts practitioners. This creative space provides an opportunity to seed discourse between traditional arts and its contemporary interpretations through creation, education, and incubation. The aim of the festival is to gather a community of critical arts practitioners who value tradition and are excited to push boundaries and want to be the change makers for the next generation.
The first iteration of SMFA focuses on an incubation programme for the dance sector in traditional arts, encompassing all cultural dance forms (ie., Chinese dance, Malay dance, and Indian dance). View our Programme Brochure.
Scarlet Mela is a canvas for traditional performance artists to tell their stories through an intercultural lens. It is an approach that hopes to bring energy through seeding open conversation and new forms of collaboration.
The logo finds it foundation from the letterforms of Singapore’s multiple mother tongues. While each element stands individually, they come to balance harmoniously as a whole. Distinct differences flow with each other. Energies align, always in motion to push the boundaries of category and convention.
Banu is a well-rounded arts professional, where her experience extends from performing to championing the traditional arts, managing creative projects and arts administration. She has an interest in building community through arts and culture.
Tabitha loves being organized and meticulous, and it extends to her work as an arts manager and a festival manager. Having project managed many events over the years, Tabitha is always interested in a project that can push her organizational skills.
Aishwariyah Shanmuganathan (Asha Nathan) is an independent Drama Educator and Practitioner. She holds a Masters in Drama Education and is currently working towards a Doctoral degree with the National Institute of Education’s Visual and Performing Arts Department.
Soultari Amin Farid is a choreographer, arts educator and researcher. He was the Joint-Artistic Director of Bhumi Collective, a multidisciplinary performing arts and producing company.
Elizabeth Chan (陈美锜), is a dance practitioner-researcher who is interested in decolonial and caring ways of working.
Hamsavani Rajeswaren has trained in Bharathanatyam since the age of 3. Her years in traditional arts have given her insight into the demands of arts management. Hamsavani is currently part of Mandala Arts Singapore, providing marketing and administrative support.
Tan Zi Yang often finds it difficult to succinctly describe his work because he does so many different things. However, he is certain that his love for the arts is what consistently carried him through his many (sometimes hilarious) endeavours.
Xenres started his dance journey in 2016 at the age of 19, auditioned and entered Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in July 2016. Xenres competed in the first Contemporary Dance competition organized by The Flux Collective as top prize winner “Judge’s Choice” with his own choreography in September 2018. Xenres was also invited as a guest artist to perform for International Ballet Grand Prix Singapore IBGPS 2019 with an original work. Xenres managed his own production with his working partner on an independent artist project titled “Project Up Side Right’ in January 2020 and was partially funded by National Arts Council. Presently, Xenres is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200), and the creative lead for Kirishima Dance Corps. 霧嶋舞踊隊.
Xenres was commissioned to choreographed for several events such as M1 Contact Contemporary Dance Festival 2020/2021, Scape/CANVAS 2021 and Emergence 2021. Xenres focuses on devising an inter-culture style of contemporary dance that is heavily inspired by the philosophies of Yoga, Taichi, Chinese Dance, Aikido, Karate and Capoeira, and is developing his own movement vocabulary and technique titled “Water Breath Technique”. With Kirishima Dance Corps. ‘s vision to bridge eastern and western art culture, and mission is to utilize art to educate and spread awareness on mental health disorder.
Sharul is a versatile dance artist with multifaceted experience comprising choreographic work, teaching and performance. He was a Malay dance performer, instructor, choreographer and practitioner with Artiste Seni Budaya, under the tutelage of Mr Rizman Kassim from 2007-2021. He developed a well-honed practice in various forms of Malay folk dance. He has vast experience in performing internationally (Poland, Korea, Sabah, Bulgaria, Istanbul and Kuala Lumpur), and through a wide variety of platforms and collaborative works. Sharul strives to deepen his perspective through active conversations of dance artistry and his choreographic creativity is grounded in intricate expressions and complexity of movement. He is dedicated to find ways to deepen traditional Malay dance in society by assisting people to relate to the art form in new ways, thus keeping the tradition alive and relevant. Sharul is passionate in creating contemporary works that explore movement language of Malay traditional form. Upon graduation from BA (Hons) Dance from LASALLE College of the Arts, he is interested to nurture his practice in performance-making. He is currently an Associate of P7:1SMA Ltd since 2019, a dance community, that considers performance-making as necessary disruptions, Malay as a concept, and dance as a strategy for common humanity.READ JOURNAL
Faiz started his journey in Malay dance in secondary school and he continued to pursue dance in Temasek Polytechnic, where he joined DIAN Dancers. During this time, Faiz took part in various local and overseas productions with the group. Faiz’s dance experiences are mainly rooted in traditional and contemporary Malay dance, and he believes that we all share a common responsibility to upkeep traditional art forms. Faiz is also currently pursuing a degree in Linguistics & Multilingual Studies at Nanyang Technological University, where he intends to specialise in interactional sociolinguistics.READ JOURNAL
Mei Fei is a multi-disciplinary artist interested in languages and systems of knowledge. She is a Fine Arts graduate of LASALLE College of the Arts. She is also trained in the Indian Classical dance forms of Bharatanatyam and Odissi.
She began her formal training in Bharatanatyam at Apsaras Arts Academy, under the late Smt Neila Sathyalingam. She completed her Arangetram in 2021 under the guidance of Mohanapriyan Thavarajah, and presently continues her training under Gayathri Chachitanandar at Apsaras Arts. She began her Odissi training in 2018 and continues to learn under the guidance of Soumee De at Apsaras Arts Academy.READ JOURNAL
I dance not to entertain but to help people better understand each other. Because through dance I have experienced the wordless joy of freedom, I seek it more fully now for my people and for all people everywhere” – Pearl Primus
My art is rooted in my history and fed by the present. I am an artist who believes that dance is language. I use choreography to express feelings, thoughts and ideas – similar to how words function in spoken languages. I am interested in exploring the relevance of traditional dance in today’s ever-evolving society, especially with the youth.READ JOURNAL
Krithika, 27, is a multi-disciplinary artist who has always been drawn to how art heals. Having been immersed in the arts since the age of 5, rooted in a strong foundation in Indian dance (Bharathanatyam) and music (Carnatic Vocal), Krithika then trained in Western dance styles (Ballet, Contemporary Dance) and fell in love examining art across genres.
Krithika continues to develop herself as both a dance and music artist, as she sees the two as inseparable. Krithika has had the opportunity to work with local and international choreographers, and to choreograph independently. Naturally drawn to critical analysis and deconstructing the human condition, Krithika pursued a BA (Hons) in English Literature and brings this inquisitive acuity to every artistic endeavour.READ JOURNAL
Anna is a dual-status worker currently in her final year of Bachelor of Arts studies in Communication. Her advocacy for the Arts extends beyond her field of study and work to also Performing Arts with a practice in Dance. Anna has been professionally trained in Traditional Malay Dance since 2016. And since then exposed herself to other forms of dance such as Contemporary and Jazz. She has also started exploring her own works and movements since 2019.READ JOURNAL
Kar Kah, Chan(b.1997) is an interdisciplinary artist, choreographer, and educator based in Malaysia. She was trained in the background of Chinese classical dance, Chinese ethnic folk dance and contemporary dance under Beijing Normal University. Kar Kah founded Marrow Collective that explores the interstices of dance and visual arts in 2018, and has been committed to her interdisciplinary practices.
Her works surround the ancestral traditions and collective memories of the Malaysian Chinese community. Her investigations seeks to find the commonalities of the somatic memories between Chinese Opera and Chinese Martial Art (南拳), and their influences on Chinese Dance in Malaysia.READ JOURNAL
Maanasa is a Bharatanatyam dancer and completed her SIFAS diploma in Bharatanatyam in 2015 with the title of ‘Natya Visharadh’. She went on to do a solo Bharatanatyam production titled Acharya Devo Bhava in 2017 under the guidance of Guru Gayathri Chachithanandar. She has also been part of many Apsaras Arts group ensemble productions and is currently under the able guidance of Guru PN Vikas. She hopes to explore the relevance of this art form in the modern day context while staying true to its roots and traditions.READ JOURNAL
Hafiz is a trained traditional and contemporary Malay dancer in Azpirasi, under the tutelage of Azmi Juhari and mentorship of Norhaizad Adam, Ismail Jemaah and Hasyimah Harith. After specialising in filmmaking since his diploma in Mass Communication, the strong ambition to direct and choreograph for stage and film has led Hafiz to his BA(Hons) in Musical Theatre, where he trained in performance skills to better communicate with artists.Hafiz is very intrigued by the psychology of human and societal behaviour, and sets out to study different forms of identity and their roles in his creative work. This is a strong interest for him as he is also currently rediscovering his choreographic identity as a “modern Malay” who practises traditional Malay dance, disrupted and/ or enhanced by the practice and values of modern musical theatre jazz.