Asia Culture Local Singapore

Stop & Smell the Roses

Conceived by Kavitha Krishnan (artistic director) and Shahrin Johry (assistant choreographer and MDT dancer), the screendance was inspired by Shahrin’s personal experiences during this pandemic. Shahrin recently returned to Singapore from his overseas studies, only to be greeted by a world plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic. With Singapore placed on DORSCON Orange and employment opportunities placed on hold, anxiety started to grow. Soon, the government declared the country to be under a Circuit Breaker, encouraging its people to stay home. As the weeks turned to months, Shahrin decided to overturn his anxiety–– to see the Circuit Breaker as a positive predicament and use the time to stop and smell the roses.

As Shahrin presented his experience to Kavitha, the revelation grew into a concept that they were eager to explore in a performance, using dance as a medium to capture the human experiences of time during this period. They decided to title the performance Stop & Smell the Roses, a common phrase that aptly captures this concept. Both Kavitha and Shahrin rallied together dancers, musicians and a filmmaker to bring their ideas to life.

Since the Circuit Breaker restrictions were still ongoing, the team was refrained from physical meetings and rehearsals. Hence coordinating group rehearsals, exchanging ideas and communicating the performance direction were all done over Zoom calls, and digitally medium. For the majority of the dancers, this was their first time being part of a dance performance mediated almost entirely via digital means online.

Stop & Smell the Roses, a screendance performance by Maya Dance Theatre, will be made available from 10 August 2020 at 8pm on, free of charge.

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