Speakers

  • Janek Schergen (Singapore Dance Theatre, Artistic Director)

    Janek Schergen is from Göteborg, Sweden. Since 1971, he was invited to many dance companies to take on various positions – a dancer, teacher, ballet master, and artistic director. These companies include Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Washington Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Norwegian National Ballet. As artistic director and board member of the Choo-San Goh & H. Robert Magee Foundation, he has staged 11 of Choo-San’s works for Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT), and more than 120 worldwide. In 2008, Janek was appointed as artistic director of SDT. Since then, he has initiated programmes such as One @ the Ballet, Ballet Associates Course, Scholars’ Programme, SDT Choreographic Workshop, and the Intensive Ballet Programme. Over the past decade, he has been part of several panels and committees for the National Arts Council, and has been frequently invited to judge at international ballet competitions. He was also honoured with the ‘Award for Culture’ by Singapore Tatler at the Leadership Awards 2015, a prestigious award that recognises the contribution of influential leaders in Singapore; and was conferred the Public Service Medal (PBM) by the President of Singapore at the prestigious National Day Awards 2017.

  • Baptiste Bourgougnon (London Contemporary Dance School, Director of Undergraduate Programmes and International Development)

    Baptiste graduated at the National Conservatoire in Paris in 2000. His career began in Norway with Nye Carte Blanche before returning to France where he worked with Luc Petton and Gilles Schamber. In 2002 he joined Scottish Dance Theatre and worked with various choreographers such as Ruy Horta, Didi Veldman, Hofesh Shechter, Janet Smith, Willi Dorner. From 2006 Baptiste freelanced and worked with different companies such as Compagnie Maryse Delente, Ballet Lorent, Acronote, State Of Flux, Company Chameleon and Kieran Sheehan Dance Theatre. Baptiste has been teaching release and floorwork at the London Contemporary Dance School at The Place since 2012 and became Director of Undergraduate Performance and International Development in 2019.

  • Caren Carino (Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Vice Dean and Principal Lecturer)

    Dr Caren Cariño, from Hawai’i, USA, has earned three related degrees: Doctorate in Southeast Asian Studies (Contemporary Dance Research); Master of Fine Arts (Dance Performance and Choreography); and Bachelor of Education (Dance). Her prolific professional career includes a wealth of experience as dance performer, academic, administrator, educator and advocate. She began with Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company (USA), a ‘force for innovation in contemporary dance throughout the world’ and was also instrumental in the company’s dance education programme, with a mission to ‘make dance a viable part of everyone’s lives, whether as observers, critics, performers or creators’, a national model that still stands today. Dr Cariño eventually migrated to Singapore and was appointed Programme Leader/Lecturer (Dance) at Lasalle College of the Arts. Her current position as Vice Dean /Principal Lecturer (Dance) at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts since 2007 has seen her develop a conservatory-style dance programme with a contemporary outlook that has produced international independent and company dance artists. She has published and presented her research that focuses on education, performance and cultural studies in America, Asia and Australia. Dr Cariño is dance advisor to Singapore’s Ministry of Education, National Arts Council, People’s Association and World Dance Alliance.

  • Christian Tátchev (Director of Queensland Ballet Academy)

    Queensland Ballet Academy Director, Christian Tátchev, trained at the National School of Choreography in Sofia, Bulgaria. Performing his first leading roles shortly after commencing his professional career at age 16, Christian was promoted to Principal Artist at 21. His repertoire includes principal roles in the major classical repertoire as well as in numerous works by celebrated choreographers of modern times.

    Christian joined Queensland Ballet, Australia, after participating in the Company’s 2008 International Ballet Gala. Following his retirement from the stage in 2011, he was appointed as the Company’s Ballet Master. He took up the position of Director of Training in 2013 and became the Queensland Ballet Academy Director in 2016.

    In addition to Queensland Ballet, Christian has worked with The Sofia National Opera and Ballet, the Bulgarian contemporary dance company Ballet Arabesque, Performing Arts Council of Transvaal (PACT) Ballet, Cape Town City Ballet and the South African Ballet Theatre, where alongside his role as a Principal Artist, he was engaged as a Répétiteur.

    Christian continues to perform with the Queensland Ballet as a Character Artist and frequently adjudicates at various national and international ballet competitions.

  • Garry Trinder (New Zealand School of Dance, Director)

    Born in England, Garry Trinder trained at The Royal Ballet School, Rambert School of Ballet and Maurice Béjart’s MUDRA. As a dancer, he worked with Scottish Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and London City Ballet. Garry’s extensive career includes six years as artistic director of Hong Kong Ballet and two years as director of dance at South Africa’s NAPAC Dance Company. He was appointed director of the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) in 1998 and celebrates his 20th anniversary in 2018. Garry holds a master’s degree from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and an Advanced Diploma in Education from Newcastle University. In addition to his role at NZSD, he is associated with many international ballet competitions including the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland, the Japan Grand Prix in Tokyo and the Youth America Grand Prix in New York. Since 2011 Garry has assumed the role of President of the Jury for the Asian Grand Prix ballet competition in Hong Kong. Garry was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2013, for his services to dance.

  • Joanne Michel (The Australian Ballet School, Ballet Mistress and Level 8 Classical Teacher)

    Born in Canberra of Polish parents, Joanne studied ballet with Katerina Druzins until the age of eleven, after which she went to Bryan Lawrence and Janet Karin, both former Principals of The Australian Ballet. At the age of fifteen Joanne was accepted into The Australian Ballet School and in 1977 she was accepted into The Australian Ballet Company, reaching the rank of Principal in 1982 where she remained until 1986. Throughout her dance career, Joanne had the privilege to work with many choreographers including Glen Tetley, Graeme Murphy, Jiri Kylian, and danced leading roles in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Onegin, Romeo and Juliet, to name a few. She was awarded the Pavlova Prize by Serge Lifar in 1981 and the Inaugural Dance Australia Award for the most popular Female Dancer. In 1987 Joanne began teaching, freelancing around Melbourne and also adjudicating for the RAD and Cecchetti Society. In 2002 and 2003 she was Ballet Mistress for The Dancers Company Tour, having been a Guest Artist on the first tour in 1980. Since 2004, Joanne has taught the graduate year female students of The Australian Ballet School.

  • Resmi Malko ( Ballet Tutor of Central School of Ballet)

    Resmi Malko received his ballet training at the Academy of Ballet in Tirana, Albania. Upon completion of his training in 1985, he joined the National Opera Ballet Theatre in Tirana, and within five years was promoted to Principal Dancer. He continued his career there for the next 15 years, performing in countries including Italy, France, Turkey, Greece, Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria, USA and Canada.

    Resmi then immigrated to North America and performed with the USA Ballet and the Canadian company, Ballet Jorgen. In 2003 Resmi graduated with Distinction from the Teacher Training Program for professional dancers at Canada’s National Ballet School and joined the artistic teaching staff later that year.

    After 10 years with the NBS, Resmi joined the Central School of Ballet in London. Students Resmi has coached have to compete in international ballet competitions such as, the Prix de Lausanne and Genée International Competition where a student for the first time in the competition’s history won all three major gold medals. Choreographically, Resmi has staged classical repertoire for the Central’s End of Year performances and for the touring company, Ballet Central. Additionally, Resmi often returns to coach at the National Opera Ballet Theatre, Tirana.

  • Robert Parker (Elmhurst Ballet School, Artistic Director)

    Robert Parker trained at the Royal Ballet School and joined the Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1994, then under the directorship of Sir Peter Wright. He became a principal dancer in 1999, where he collaborated with artistic director and acclaimed choreographer David Bintley to create many leading roles for the company. He made guest appearances with the Royal Ballet and performed in many galas around the world. His accolades include a Critics Circle Dance Award nomination and an Olivier Award nomination in 2001 and a Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding Male Artist in 2003. After retiring from Birmingham Royal Ballet, he passed his RAD Professional Dancers’ Teaching Diploma with distinction and completed a Master’s degree in Philosophy in Education. Robert became Artistic Director of Elmhurst Ballet School in 2012. That same year, he was appointed President of the London Ballet Association. He is regularly invited to adjudicate and deliver master classes at various international ballet competitions around the world.

  • Peter Gn (Dance Educator and Choreographer)

    Peter is founder of The Presence Project Dance Company, a contemporary dance ensemble for those aged 16 to 21. A dance graduate from Roehampton University and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Peter has led performance projects, seminars and workshops for both professional dancers and dance students in Singapore and abroad.

    In Singapore, as dance educator and choreographer, Peter has presented lectures or dance work under the Ministry of Education, National Institute of Education, LASALLE College of the Arts, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, M1 CONTACT Contemporary Dance Festival and more. He has also guest taught in programmes by professional dance companies. At the inaugural International Ballet Grand Prix Singapore (2019), he was conference moderator and speaker.

    Overseas, Peter has presented dance in Hong Kong, Taiwan, New Zealand, London, Canada, Seoul, United States and Melbourne. He recently spoke and staged works at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, World Dance Alliance Global Dance Summit (Canada), Victorian College of the Arts (Melbourne), the Australian Youth Dance Festival and the World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific Conference (Taiwan).

    Presently a PhD candidate with the Victorian College of the Arts, Peter is a believer in the ability of Dance to unify, strengthen and change lives.

  • Melissa Quek (Head, School of Dance & Theatre, LASALLE College of the Arts)

    Melissa is Head of the School of Dance & Theatre at LASALLE College of the Arts and the Programme Leader for the Diploma in Dance.

    She is also a choreographer, performer and educator whose choreographic interest lies in investigating the body-subject. Her works and creative process attempt to touch on questions of agency, materiality and perception to create a visceral experience for the audience.

    Melissa enjoys multi-disciplinary collaborative works, Site based work such as site-specific outdoor performance Tracing the City (2016) and cause based performances and workshops such as Stride with Pride, a performance aimed at increasing respect for wheelchair users. She founded The Kueh Tutus (a collective dedicated to creating dance for young audiences) and has created several works that have been presented at The Artground, toured to regional libraries and appeared in the Esplanade’s Festivals Octoburst! and March On.

    Melissa has managed and designed various MOE-NAC Dance related initiatives such as the Dance Talent Development Programme, and Strategic Partnership CCA (Ethnic Dance). She also mentors the choreographic work of young and emerging artists through institutions such as *SCAPE and occasionally writes dance reviews, articles and edu-packs to make contemporary dance more accessible.

  • Phua Sze Ping (Head, Faculty of Dance School of the Arts, Singapore)

    After graduating from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours) in Biotechnology, Phua Sze Ping decided to pursue her first love – dance. She started teaching dance, and earned herself a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Dance Education from the Royal Academy of Dance, United Kingdom, and University of Surrey, United Kingdom.

    Prior to joining SOTA, Sze Ping co-founded and co-owned local dance studio, Attitude Performing Arts Studio. She also taught dance theory part-time at Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore. From time to time, she supervised and mentored trainee teachers in the teaching programme offered by the Royal Academy of Dance.

    Sze Ping enjoys immersing herself in dance and dance-related activities, and exploring various methods of dance education.

    She attained a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where the focus of her study was on the arts in education. Sze Ping also had the opportunity to broaden her interest in dance by studying dance improvisation with Jill Johnson during her time at Harvard.

    Sze Ping is also a STOTT PILATES Certified Instructor for Matwork and Reformer (Level 1).