Lim Fei Shen
Lim Fei Shen (b. 1945, Singapore–) is a modern dance pioneer in Singapore. Both a dancer and a choreographer, Lim has produced works that show a creative blend of Western and Asian influences. She is also known for her multidisciplinary projects involving different genres of art as well as artists from different disciplines. For her contributions to modern dance, Lim was awarded the Cultural Medallion for Dance in 1988.
Lim started her formal dance training when she was 16 years old. Subsequently, she went to Germany for further dance studies andtrained in modern dance and classical ballet. Though Lim had no opportunities upon her return to Singapore to work as a professional modern or ballet dancer, she did not give up. While working in the various commercial entertainment organisations, Lim chose to use what she had learned in a different way.
As the artistic coordinator and senior choreographer of the People’s Association Dance Company, her works ranged from working on cha-cha style numbers for roadshows to modern dance performances. Under her leadership, the company became the first Singapore dance company to perform at the Maison des Cultures du Monde in Paris, France, where they received good reviews. Three of Lim’s works were performed: Xi Fang Ping, Tang Huang and Si Chong Zhou.
In 1985, Lim was commissioned by the then Ministry of Community Development to choreograph a dance for the ASEAN Festival of Performing Arts. Together with Singapore’s multidisciplinary artist Tan Swie Hian, she co-produced a dance production, Tang Huang (A Glimpse), which was an Eastern version of Don Juan based on a story by Tan.
A watershed period in Lim’s career was her time in New York when she was pursuing her master’s degree. The sabbatical affirmed her lifelong passion for dance. She gave many solo performances at the Tisch School of the Arts and the La Mama Theatre, a venue noted for showcasing experimental works.
Upon her return to Singapore in the mid-1990s, Lim continued with her passion for dance through performing, choreographing and teaching at various institutes. Her notable works during this period include the critically acclaimed Homecoming series of performances.
In 2002, Lim joined the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts as a senior lecturer with the Department of Dance where she continues her passion for dance through teaching and mentoring a younger generation of dancers.
This guide provides supplementary resources for those who are keen to know more about the dance pioneer. You can also visit catalogue.nlb.gov.sg to search for more resources. This resource guide was prepared in November 2021 by Goh Yu Mei, Librarian at the National Library, Singapore.
Introduction on Lim Fei Shen adapted from Chor, Poh Chin, “Lim Fei Shen,” Singapore Infopedia, National Library Board, last modified February 18, 2014, https://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_2014-02-24_172520.html.
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Performance booklets & posters
- Chor, Poh Chin. “Lim Fei Shen.” Singapore Infopedia, National Library Board. Last modified February 18, 2014. https://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_2014-02-24_172520.html.
- “Lim Fei Shen.” TributeSG, Esplanade. Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.esplanade.com/tributesg/performing-arts/lim-fei-shen.
- “Performing artiste – Lim Fei Shen.” Tanoto Foundation Centre for Southeast Asian Arts at NAFA. Accessed November 3, 2021. https://tfcsea.nafa.edu.sg/artist_biography.aspx?id=47.
- Koh, Edgar. “Shen’s big plans…” New Nation, April 18, 1973. http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article/newnation19730418-126.96.36.199.
- Tang, Geraldine. “Body language and all that jazz.” The Straits Times, March 31, 1980. http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article/straitstimes19800331-188.8.131.52.1.
- Lo, Tien Yin. “Dance begins in her head.” New Paper, January 5, 1989. https://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article/newpaper19890105-1.2.18. (This article may only be viewed from the multimedia stations at NLB Libraries.)
- Khor, Christine. “Lim Fei Shen’s Homecoming arresting in its mix of dynamism and control.” The Straits Times, September 20, 1994. http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article/straitstimes19940920-184.108.40.206.1. (This article may only be viewed from the multimedia stations at NLB Libraries.)
- Wong, Pok See. “Dance pioneer simplifies her steps to draw in her audience.” The Straits Times, September 20, 1996. https://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article/straitstimes19960920-220.127.116.11.4. (This article may only be viewed from the multimedia stations at NLB Libraries.)