Picking up classical ballet at the age of seven marked the beginning of Laura Hwang’s journey into the performing arts. While she didn’t become a professional dancer, she has channelled her love for dance into helping it to thrive. Today, the director of finance firm Linyi Investments is the chairperson of the Singapore Dance Theatre.
Besides fundraising – the sum of which is matched dollar for dollar by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth – she oversaw the troupe’s relocation to its current premises atop Bugis+ shopping centre.
“We’re moving away from Singapore being seen as a purely technocratic society to a developed nation with developed people.”
– Laura Hwang
“In 2015, we moved from Cox Terrace, a colonial building at Fort Canning, to make way for Singapore Pinacotheque (which closed a year later). Now that we’re based in the city, the dancers are part of a wider community, not sitting on a hill. There are shoppers who hear our practice music from the fourth floor, and take the escalator up to discover the studio. Some of them sign up for dance lessons with us,” she shares.
To further support the discipline, she has introduced a community studio, where smaller arts group can hold practices. “We charge only for the electricity,” adds Hwang.
Speaking about the role of the arts in society, she says: “We’re moving away from Singapore being seen as a purely technocratic society to a developed nation which includes an appreciation for culture and the arts. Being recognised for our arts scene as well as our business acumen and economic progress is crucial as it mirrors the growth of our nation.”
PHOTOGRAPHY TAN WEI TE ART DIRECTION JEAN YAP