PAAKUVA GP Choy Ka Fai Yishun is Burning 15 03 2022 20x30 26
Show photographer Dajana Lothert

Choy Ka Fai: Yishun Is Burning

  • Schedule

    4.2.2023 at 20:00

  • Duration 60 minutes. No intermission.
  • Performance in English, Mandarin, Malay. English Subtitles.
  • The piece uses a fog machine, laser light, strobe and flashing lights. Images of a ritual with self-harming acts are shown, which may have a disturbing effect on some viewers. There is a moment of complete darkness. Loud music as well as repetitive sounds are played.

Shamanism meets Voguing meets Yishun. For Yishun is Burning, choreographer Choy Ka Fai adapts Singaporean ritual dances for a transcendent, queer solo on a multimedia stage.

On a quest for religious ecstasy, the audience dives into the notorious city of Yishun. Yishun is Singapore’s dystopian suburbia, where hybrid spiritual acts are perpetrated – a suburbia of darkness, a kind of antithesis to the gleaming clean image Singapore cultivates – Singapore has traditionally been known as an authoritarian city state, where society is ruled by control and in which freedom of speech is non-essential.

Yishun is Burning is a multicultural voguing dance party that traverses the boundaries of gender, race, and religion. Inspired by the Singaporean phenomenon of ritual reverence of deities in their struggle against evil. The performance will be led by Norwegian-Thai dancer Sun Phitthaya Phaefuang a.k.a. Aurora Sun, who enters states between ecstasy, trance and drag.

Sun Phitthaya Phaefuang is a rising star of the Southeast Asian voguing scene whose dance will be accompanied by a music performance coming from the Singaporean Malay band NADA (Rizman Putra and Safuan Johari) and Chinese drummer Cheryl Ong.

Thirty years after the iconic New York documentary Paris is Burning, this evening combines themes of a globalized world with old and new movement traditions and celebrates the search for (one's own) spirituality in dance.

See also

During Side Step Festival 2023, the MUU Helsinki Contemporary Art Centre at the Cable Factory is presenting The Wanderer: Metal, Water, Earth (2021-2022), by choreographer Choy Ka Fai.

Read more


Choy Ka Fai

Choy Ka Fai is a Berlin-based Singaporean artist. His multidisciplinary art practice situates itself at the intersection of dance, media art and performance. At the heart of his research is a continuous exploration of the metaphysics of the human body. Through research expeditions, pseudo-scientific experiments and documentary performances, Ka Fai appropriates technologies and narratives to imagine new futures of the human body.

Ka Fai’s projects have been presented in major institutions and festivals worldwide, including Sadler’s Wells (London, UK), ImPulsTanz Festival (Vienna, Austria), Tanzplattform and Tanz Im August (Berlin, Germany). He was the resident artist at tanzhaus nrw in Düsseldorf (2017–2019) and Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin (2014-15). Ka Fai graduated with a M.A. in Design Interaction from the Royal College of Art, London, United Kingdom.

Yishun is Burning is part of the CosmicWander Series, an on-going project by Choy Ka Fai, exploring shamanic dance culture in Asia. The Cosmic Wander project unfolds into a series of performances, installations and virtual portals, seeking to resurface the alternative and disappearing human culture on dance, trance and belief systems.

In search of the supernatural dance experience, he had filmed extraordinary shamanic rituals and folk traditions that are still prevalent in our contemporary times, intersecting with the broader environmental, technological and political shifts in Asia. Started 2018, he first set out on an 18-month journey across Asia to meet more than 50 spirit mediums in Siberia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia. Ka Fai returns with encounters on altered states of human consciousness and transforms these experiences on stage. He seeks to speculate on the alternative modes of knowing and living, as well as other realms of reality other than our own.


Phitthaya Phaefuang, nicknamed Sun, was born in Chon Daen, Thailand in 1988 and moved to Norway in 1991. He went to one year pre-study in dance at Spin Off, studied modern- and contemporary dance at KHIO (Oslo National Academy of the Arts) and graduated in 2011. In 2012, he moved to Thailand and started to do projects around Asia, mainly in Singapore, Taiwan and Japan.

He has worked with Tang Fu Kuen, Pichet Klunchun, Choy Ka Fai, Daniel Kok, Brian Gothong Tan, Jereh Leung, Cheng Ta Yu and Maya Dance Theatre. Since 2015 he has been taking classes and joined sessions in voguing, sex sirens, runway, ballroom history. He has been walking balls in Asia and Europe, won some trophies and joined the house of Amazon for 7 years where Leiomy Miyake Mugler is the mother and founder of the house. He also created a vogue and ballroom scene in Thailand, and is known as the trailblazer of the Thai ballroom scene.

The performance is part of the Side Step festival organized by Zodiak.
Please contact Zodiak if you have any questions about tickets

Concept, Documentary and Direction

Choy Ka Fai


Tang Fu-Kuen

Spiritual Presence

Kali and Kuan Yin

Choreography and Dance Performance

Sun Phitthaya Phaefuang

Sound Design and Musical Performance

NADA (Rizman Putra & Safuan Johari) ja Cheryl Ong

3D Visual Design and Technology

Brandon Tay

Light Design, Installation and Technical Direction

Ray Tseng

Visual Operator

Damjan Šporčić

Technical Direction Singapore Studio


Tour Manager

Tammo Walter

Production Manager

Mara Nedelcu

Guest Dancers



Yishun is Burning is developed with the support of tanzhaus nrw Düsseldorf and Singapore Art Museum. Additional support was received from the Nationales Performance Netz (NPN) Coproduction Fund for Dance, which is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Germany. The research process was supported by the National Arts Council, Singapore and Kunststiftung NRW, Germany

world premiere

26th August 2021, tanzhaus nrw Dusseldorf

Choi Ka Fay logot

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