Arrhythmia: Performance Pedagogy and Practice


Thu 3 Jun – Sat 5 Jun





We become more acutely aware of rhythm in its absence. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered our timing, and in doing so, disrupted how we conceive, practice and uphold performance pedagogy and practice.

Our current situation can be described as a generalised arrhythmia. Irregularity, missteps, deviations, and broken beats – these words become all the more relevant in performance pedagogy and practice. And yet, if performance is already an encounter and the unravelling of spaces out of this time and place, then what is performance but an arrhythmia in itself?

Arrhythmia: Performance Pedagogy and Practice is an online international conference organised by the Faculty of Performing Arts at LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore. Artists and academics, faculty and students, will articulate the pandemic experience beyond its disruption and consequent digital turn.

Message from the President

A warm welcome to LASALLE College of the Arts and to Arrhythmia! The unprecedented disruptions of the pandemic have raised many crucial and existential questions for the arts and arts education. In times of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to provide platforms to come together to interrogate such issues, share ideas and knowledge, and make real and lasting connections locally, regionally and beyond. We hope Arrhythmia will provide a fruitful time and space for this and thank you for being part of this vital conversation.

Professor Steve Dixon
President, LASALLE College of the Arts

Conference information

About Arrhythmia
A message from the Dean of the Faculty of Performing Arts

On behalf of the Faculty of Performing Arts at LASALLE College of the Arts, I welcome you to our conference: Arrhythmia: Performance Pedagogy and Practice.

For nearly 18 months, since the unsparing spread of the global pandemic that is COVID-19, the regular rhythms of our lives, our art, our performances, our teaching and individual practice, our research and all our relationships have been severely disrupted and forced to accept imposed irregular, erratic patterns. 

Arrhythmia defines our state – jagged peaks and valleys have supplanted our once (seemingly) steady rhythms, jolting us into cataclysmic patterns. So, there is an urgency to address the unsteady state of embodied performance, pedagogy and practice and the way the beats and patterns of our work have been both thrown off, discharged and recharged, and repurposed in new keys. 

Global conversations such as ours are addressing this erratic, arrhythmic state. As a faculty that works and schedules within units and measures of time, rarely missing a beat, our balance has been abruptly counterbalanced. Shapes have shifted, losing our sense of timing, struggling to find new ones. The disjointed has been re-jointed. We know that a work of genuinely contemporary art follows no steady pattern but obeys its own impulses and follows its own rhythms. The abnormal becomes the acceptable normal until shifting to become abnormal once more.

As I reach the end of my tenure as Dean of the Faculty Performing Arts and my time in Singapore and Southeast Asia, I feel time’s arrow swiftly shifting its trajectory and velocity. But the shape of the past, present and future come together in a disambiguation, which this conference will partly address. The pace of time and work before the COVID-19 pandemic seems distant and almost nostalgic, though much in the world has not changed – its wider problems and acclimatised evils have just been put on temporary pause. A pause during which we have all found time to reflect and steady our pace and adjust, as I once did, following a triple bypass operation years ago to cure my own arrhythmia. 

We welcome you to the world of Arrhythmia and all that we will discuss over the coming days. The keynote with Peter Sellars on day 1 will set the pace of our conversations and hopefully our hearts racing as we all embrace what is to come. This is followed by a second keynote on day 2 from Melati Suryodarmo to shift the beat, the movement and the intentions. The conference ends with two pre-recorded performances featuring our Dance students and Music faculty on day 3 as a movement and music response to Arrhythmia as the pattern of neo-normal, a (re)adjustment to shifting patterns.

As the conference centres on talks and conversations by our guests, colleagues and students who join us globally and locally, we hope to diagnose what we have been through and offer some creative, overlapping prescriptions for our future work, back together. 

Cor ad cor loquitur.

michael earley
Professor Michael Earley
Dean, Faculty of Performing Arts 

Conference credits

Produced by the Faculty of Performing Arts at LASALLE College of the Arts

Steering committee
Professor Michael Earley
Melissa Quek
Dr Timothy O’Dwyer
Dr Diego Celi
Dr Felipe Cervera (conference chair)
Production Manager
Cheria Sim
Keynote curation
Professor Michael Earley
Melissa Quek
Dr Diego Celi
Local symposium curation
Nora Samosir
Dr Darren Moore
Dr Felipe Cervera
Student panels curation
Dr Timothy O’Dwyer
Melissa Quek
Dr Peter Zazzali
Dayal Singh
Michael Budmani

Closing performance
Choreographer: Dapheny Chen and dancers 
Dancers: Christina Cai, Goh Xue Li, Keanna Sharon, Kuku Claudia, Naval Elisha Jude Cenaro, Joanne Seow, Shahizman, Tam Ye Qi, Stefanie Teo, Tiara Rahyuni, Serene Tung
Lines of Force
Music: Black Zenith (Darren Moore and Brian O'Reilly)

Dr Venka Purushothaman

Webpage and visual communication
Ailin Chin
Technical officers
Patrick Wong
Sayuthi Bin Jasmin
Muhammad Herman Bin Abdul Rahim
Technical support
Lee Kiong Wee
Amirul Azmi
Documentation and photography
Everlight Studio

Student hosts
Sofie Buligis
Gracian Chua
Angeal Cheong
Alexis Elizabeth Chew
Rebecca Ashley Dass
Michaela Hay
Benjamin Koh
Alexandra Kong
Kimberly Sim
Dana Sivarajan
Joel Tan
Su Paing Tun
Shamini Vasu

Special thanks
Professor Steve Dixon
Milenko Prvacki
Wong Meng Kong
Yuen Yee Foong
Zulkifli Hussain
Sureni Salgadoe
Eero Laine
Verne de la Peña
Bry Levina
Sir Anril Tiatco
Mahat Supri

Keynotes (online, open to all)
Peter Sellars (3 June 2021, 8am NYC / 1pm London / 8pm Singapore)

Critical COVID-19 Creative Work: Kindness, Care, and Repair: Peter Sellars in Conversation with Michael Earley 

COVID-19 and its variants have arrived overwhelmingly in our lives as terrible afflictions and tragedies. Tragedy is, by its nature, often humanly preventable, and enters our lives as a message and a teaching. COVID-19 has shockingly exposed longstanding inequality, injustice, and toxic human and environmental degradation that are lethal to life on this planet. We have 10 years to make major changes in the ways we are living. Of course, most of our institutions are resistant to change, and devastatingly slow to demonstrate real change. How do we, as artists, de-institutionalise our thinking and our actions to demonstrate meaningful, powerful and liberating change in our lives and in the world? 


Peter Sellars

About the speaker

MacArthur Fellow Peter Sellars is a distinguished professor in the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, where he has taught since 1988. Known for exploring challenging moral issues such as race, war, poverty, and the international refugee crisis through his work, his most notable courses include Art as Moral Action and Art as Social Action. Sellars has gained international renown for his groundbreaking and transformative interpretations of artistic masterpieces and for collaborative projects with an extraordinary range of creative artists across three decades. Sellars is the founding director of the Boethius Institute at UCLA, which invites scholars, activists, and artists to work together on projects of public significance, exploring radical ways to rethink relationships of communities and complex issues, using the arts as the point of entry and the point of transformation.

Prof Michael Earley

About Professor Michael Earley

Professor Michael Earley is outgoing Dean of the Faculty of Performing Arts at LASALLE College of the Arts. He is Vice President of the Asia Pacific Bond of Theatre Schools and Academic Adviser to Stage Russia in Moscow.  For over 30 years has headed and taught at leading international theatre programmes and conservatoires, including Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance in London, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and The Juilliard School in New York, Yale University’s Theatre Studies Program in Connecticut and founded the Lincoln School of Performing Arts and Lincoln Performing Arts Centre at the University of Lincoln in the U.K.. Beyond his work in higher education he has been Publishing Director of Methuen Drama Publishers in London and Chief Producer of Plays for BBC Radio Drama


Melati Suryodarmo (4 June 2021, 8am NYC / 1pm London / 8pm Singapore)

Artist’s studio as an open space: Melati Suryodarmo in conversation with Melissa Quek

Art delivers life in a very special way, especially during these times, when the end of a crisis has been delayed or overdue. When the pandemic increases uncertainties in many aspects of art practices, our creativity drives us to find many ways to overcome the situation. Day by day, we explore our desire to continue creating and working, and our pace towards the future increasingly clear. And yet, although our digital technologies provide many possibilities to connect with the world despite distances, we discover various challenges in our artistic process. 

Studio Plesungan, which Melati opened since 2012 for public programmes, has been an important part of her artistic work. It was created in order to empower the artistic community through education and laboratory projects. It was supposed to offer open spaces for explorations for young artists and art students, and to develop a strategy of learning processes with a special focus on the intersection of sustainable life and artistic work. During the pandemic, however, our activities have been operated virtually. This has brought some issues for performance students, whose physical practices have been replaced into an ineffective way of learning process.
In her presentation, Melati will share some thoughts and alternative strategies which she has been experimenting and practicing in Studio Plesugan’s performance education programmes since last year.



About the speaker

Melati Suryodarmo (b. 1969, Solo, Indonesia) graduated from the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunscheweig, Germany. Her practice is informed by Butoh, contemporary dance, and history, among others. Her work is the result of ongoing research in the movements of the body and its relationship to the self and the world. These are translated into photography, dance choreography, video and live performances. Suryodarmo is interested in the psychological and physical agitations that result in lasting change in the individual, either if these are external or internal. She approaches the body as the home for memories and the self, rather than the individual itself, and the body’s system.
Suryodarmo has presented her work in locations all over the world, including Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland; MMCA, Gwacheon, South Korea; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Para Site, Hong Kong; QAGOMA, Australia; and Singapore Art Museum. Festivals include 5th Guangzhou Triennale (2015); Incheon Women Artists’ Biennale (2009); and Manifesta 7 (2008).
Since 2007, Suryodarmo has been organizing PALA and Undisclosed Territory, both annual performance art festivals, in Solo, Indonesia. In 2012, she founded “Studio Plesungan”, an art space for performance artists. In 2017, she served as Artistic Director for the 17th Jakarta Biennale.

Melissa Quek

About Melissa Quek

Melissa Quek is Head of the School of Dance & Theatre and leads the Diploma in Dance programme at LASALLE College of the Arts. She is 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.

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 Talent Development Programme, and Strategic Partnership CCA (Ethnic Dance). Melissa occasionally writes dance reviews, articles and edu-packs to make contemporary dance more accessible.


Local symposium (online, closed)
Schedule, abstracts and bios

Please click on this link to see the local symposium’s schedule and book of abstracts. 

For inquiries, please contact

Closing performances



BALL MEASURES (Ensemble) is an iteration of BALL MEASURES – a series of work that takes on the Singapore Foreign Sports Talent Scheme debate as its foundation block. The series is a choreographic and performative practice that positions the ping pong ball as a collaborator. In BALL MEASURES (Ensemble), the work expands the relationship we have with the other(s) and re-examines the dancing body as a construct of choreography. It acknowledges the intangible moments and transformations that arise and occur through the body’s existence with the other(s) as composition. Accumulating information that re-frames and re-educates the way we make, view and engage ‘dance’.

Choreographer: Dapheny Chen and dancers 
Dancers: Christina Cai, Goh Xue Li, Keanna Sharon, Kuku Claudia, Naval Elisha Jude Cenaro, Joanne Seow, Shahizman, Tam Ye Qi, Stefanie Teo, Tiara Rahyuni, Serene Tung


Lines of Force

Lines of Force explores rhythm as a fractal connector between acoustically and electronically generated rhythmic elements. Electro-acoustic duo Black Zenith creates an eco-system of polyrhythmic artefacts with drums, triggers, modular synthesisers, and electronic effects to harness layers of time that extrapolate into a multitude of lineages.

Music: Black Zenith (Darren Moore and Brian O'Reilly)


Student panels (online, open to a limited audience)
Casting and Accountability: Representation in post-COVID Musical Theatre, Fri 4 Jun, 9:00am SGT

Moderated by Dayal Singh, Alison D'amato and Olivia Nieto.

What has been the impact the pandemic has had on discussions about cultural representation and appropriation in the context of Musical Theatre? Have the traditional rhythms of casting been altered in light of movements like BLM and decolonial advocacy? How can musical theatre practitioners gather to reflect and envision a more equitable aesthetics for the future? Musical theatre students from LASALLE and State University of New York at Buffalo, along with a directing student from University The University of The Philippines Diliman will address these questions in response to the conference topic. 

LASALLE College of the Arts
Faculty Member: Dayal Singh (Programme Leader, BA(Hons) Musical Theatre
Students: Melissa May Arcangeles Garcia, Sofie Buligis, Seah Janice

State University of New York at Buffalo
Faculty Member: Alison D’Amato (Lecturer, Musical Theatre, Department of Theatre and Dance)
Students: Students: Lauren Masterpolo, Derrian Brown, Anna Fernandez 

University of the Philippines Diliman 
Faculty Member: Olivia Nieto (Assistant Professor, Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts)
Student: Veronica Ala Fortuna



Identity and the Rhythms of Actor Training, Fri 4 Jun, 10:00am SGT

Moderated by Dr Peter Zazzali, Melissa Maramara and Olivia Nieto.

Is there a rhythm to learning acting? Can we identify a "rhythmic trajectory" to the actor’s learning process and if so what is it? How do pace and flow correspond with disruptions and (perceived) setbacks in training? Is learning how to act a linear process? How do culture and identity factor into an actor's development? Acting students from LASALLE, Ateneo de Manila University, and The University of The Philippines Diliman will address these questions as part of a forum discussion monitored by their respective instructors.

Ateneo de Manila University

Faculty Member: Melissa Vera M. Maramara (Assistant Professor Department of Fine Arts)
Students: Alyssa Jamille Binay, Zoë de Ocampo, and Austin Gonzales

LASALLE College of the Arts
Faculty Member: Dr. Peter Zazzali (Senior Lecturer of Acting)
Students: Ethan Curentt, Gracian Chua, and Shamini Vasu

University of the Philippines Diliman
Faculty Member: Olivia Nieto (Assistant Professor, Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts)
Student: Antila Nikole M. Africa


Listening & Rhythmic Cadence in Online Musical Collaborations, Fri 4 Jun, 11:00am SGT

Lead by Tim O’Dwyer and Verne Dela Peña 

This session will present a live collaboration between students and staff from Silpakorn University Thailand, The University of the Philippines, and the School of Contemporary Music at LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore. The performance/workshop will be in real-time. Our starting points and research questions outline what is the nature of listening whilst improvising online? How is the musical cadence affected, rupture, and transformed? How do these things, in turn, affect musical decisions?

LASALLE College of the Arts:

Faculty Member: Dr Tim O'Dwyer, Head of the School of Contemporary Music
Students: Cheong Xin Ying (electronic music) and Nadia Margawi (electronic music)

University of the Philippines Diliman (The Philippines):
Faculty Member: Verne dela Peña (Dean of the College)
Students: Paul Malicdem (kulintang) and Rose Panuelos (dance)

Silpakorn University (Thailand):
Faculty Member: Chanutr Techatananan, (Deputy Dean for Academic Services and International Affairs, Silpakorn University)
Students: Ittitep Chummek (drums) and Tonwong Manphajong (Tenor Saxophone)



Technical Theatre in Post-Pandemic Southeast Asia, Fri 4 June, 12:00pm SGT

Moderated by Michael Budmani.

One of the many things evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic is that artists do not allow circumstances to stop them creating. Theatre-makers pivoted and moved their storytelling online, utilising technology to help them to continue to share their work with their audiences. How did technical directors, stage managers and designers adapt to the new normal in Southeast Asia? What will the future be like for this key sector of the theatre industry? In this panel, industry professionals, academics, and students from Singapore and The Philippines reflect on the last year and ponder on the challenges ahead.

Michael Budmani (Programme Leader, Diploma in Theatre and Production Management, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore)
Kenny Wong (Head, Technical Production, The Esplanade Theatres-by-the-Bay, Singapore)
Juliet Chia (Deputy Artistic Director at Singapore Repertory Theatre)
Olivia Nieto (Assistant Professor, Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts)
Petrina Dawn Tan (Designer, Singapore)
Muhammad Nurfadhli Bin Jasni (Student, Diploma in Theatre and Production Management, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore)
Pete Andrei V. Fabricante (Student, Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts)


Spanning Distances: Dance showcase (on demand)


Distance is one way in which we measure rhythm: intervals between here and there, then and now, you and me. In this collection of solos, Diploma in Dance students respond to the conference topic by interpreting the distances between people, ideals or the tension within ourselves.

Performers: Stefanie Teo, Goh Xue Li, Keanna Sharon, Joanne Seow, Tiara Rahyuni Sudewo.

Guided by Yarra Ileto
Premiere: Thursday 3 June 2021




News and publications
Training Utopias

Watch this space for the launch of Training Utopias, an issue of Performance Research edited by Prof Michael Earley, Felipe Cervera and Elizabeth de Roza. Coming soon, June 2021.

Performance Research is a leading international journal in theatre and performance studies. Published by Taylor & Francis, it releases eight issues every year. For more information and previous issues, click here


Watch this space for the publication of a selection of the papers presented in Arrhythmia: Performance Pedagogy and Practice in a special issue of ISSUE.

ISSUE is a peer-reviewed international art journal, edited by LASALLE’s Provost and Deputy President, Dr Venka Purushothaman. For more information and previous issues, click here.