Hot! Up Close with Adelene Stanley, the only Singaporean and Asian to perform in Zulu Ballet, INALA


CONTENT: Andrew Kho
IMAGE: Sisters Grimm

Grammy nominated INALA – a Zulu Ballet production that will be playing at Marina Bay Sands, 19-22 June 2019, The Southeast Asian première will bring together the two-time Grammy® Award-winning South African choral legends, Soweto Gospel Choir with multi-award-winning choreographer Mark Baldwin OBE in this most unique of live theatrical experiences, powered by a cultural explosion of music, song and dance.

Featuring world-class dancers from The Royal Ballet and Rambert, including Singaporean dancer Adelene Stanley together with Camille Bracher and Jacob O’Connell, the critically acclaimed production embraces an exhilarating fusion of South African and Western cultures live on stage.

We sat down with dancer Adelene Stanley as she tells us more about herself, about INALA and her experience being part of this International production.

Adelene SG 2

Luxe Society Asia: I am sure there are a lot of people like me who havent heard of INALA, could you tell us more about this production? What does INALA mean?

INALA is a dance musical that combines South African culture and music with Classical ballet and Contemporary dance. Featuring 3 time Grammy award winners Soweto Gospel Choir with current and former dancers from the Royal Ballet and Rambert. The word INALA means abundance of goodwill in Zulu language.

Luxe Society Asia: Could you tell us more about yourself and your involvement in this production?

I’m Adelene Stanley — a passionate dancer, choreographer, movement director. 24 years old. Dancing for 21 years, professionally for 6 years — worked internationally and locally with renowned artists and creatives. I have performed for the British Royal Family and have toured 21 cities in UK, Russia, France, Scotland, Taiwan, Poland. I have choreographed 14 staged works and I enjoy collaborating with musicians, designers, brands, visual artists, videographers… just because I like thinking of dance as being part of something and helping to enhance rather than just dance by itself. I’m a music lover and the way I hear music and rhythm translates in the way I dance and choreograph — It’s fun and exciting when every element is in harmony with one another.

I was in the original cast of INALA back in 2014, so myself and the other dancers helped to workshop ideas for choreography and add to the creative process. Coming back to revamp this production this year has got me really excited because I get to recreate this INALA magic with a new group of people and I get to tour to my hometown Singapore!

Luxe Society Asia: The show here in Singapore will be INALA’s Southeast Asian premiere, how do you feel about it?

Can’t even begin to explain… excited and proud.. I’m really looking forward to it because my family and friends here will finally get to see it. INALA is something that I’ve invested in and poured so much of myself into that I’m just happy and grateful that I get to share it!

Luxe Society Asia: What caught your eye for you to audition for this production?

Back in 2014, I was scouted in my graduating year at Rambert School. At that time, the director of Rambert Company – Mark Baldwin was choreographing Rite Of Spring for the graduation piece and I was working quite closely with him as I was chosen as the principal dancer for Rite Of Spring. It was after graduation where he told INALA’s producers about me and offered me a contract to join the show.

Luxe Society Asia: Are you the only Asian and the only Singaporean in this production?

Yes, the only Asian, the only Singaporean.

Luxe Society Asia: What obstacles did you encounter during rehearsal and while performing for this production?

Well I had an almost career ending accident. This was mid tour — thankfully it was during a break in between tour stops. The crazy part was that it wasn’t even a dance related accident, I was cycling in the Nederlands and wheel of my bicycle got caught in the tram tracks so I flew off and as I landed I gashed my knee open. Till the bone was exposed. Was rushed to the hospital to get 19 stitches. At this point I would like to add that it happened on Christmas Day as well, so what a Christmas present.

Besides this incident, I would say the only challenge was the tiredness from touring. It was hard to go nonstop, theatre after theatre, show after show. It almost wasn’t the dancing that made me tired but rather the travelling took a toll on my body. Because when you’re travelling your body is not really resting. So it was tough trying to get proper rest on tour. Having said that, the satisfaction of having completed the tour is the best feeling ever!

Luxe Society Asia: What do you think sets INALA apart from the other ballet productions?

It’s a show that embraces an exhilarating fusion of South African and Western cultures, live on stage. I think it’s safe to say this is the first ever Zulu Ballet. In a traditional ballet, it’s mostly narrative and fairy tale like. However in INALA, you’re getting something real and raw. Without giving too much away, the lyrics of the songs talk about the journey of life, about going home and what that means, etc.

Luxe Society Asia: How does it feel to be performing with the same production for almost 4 years?

Well it hasn’t been all 4 years straight. I had to returned to Singapore in 2016 to fulfil my NAC scholarship bond — I was dancing full time with a local dance company. Now that my bond is over, I have started to freelance as that gives me more liberty to take on projects that I am passionate about. So it was perfect timing when the producers of INALA approached me again.

Like I said earlier this production means a lot to me, also because it was my first big gig after graduation. With the new cast this year, there will be fresh new energies on stage and I’m looking forward to the new dynamic.

Luxe Society Asia: Why should the public watch INALA?

It’s the harmony of music and dance that you’ve never seen before. World class music and dance — what’s not to love?

Luxe Society Asia: What is next after INALA? are we going to see you in other theatre productions?

As far as other theatre / dance productions go, I don’t know… I’m open but it’s hard to say for now because INALA might be touring more extensively later in the year and possibly through till 2020. So my plans are also on hold depending on tour schedule.

Having said that, I have plans to create more choreographic work and do more collaborations. And perhaps to open a school or company 5 years down the road.

Besides performing and choreographing, I love teaching — so my plans in SG (when I’m in Singapore) is to continue teaching dance and movement therapy classes in various studios, gyms and schools. I cater to groups, corporate and private clients.

Direct from its West End première at London’s Peacock Theatre, the multi award-winning Zulu ballet, INALA, will play at Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore for five performances only, from 19 to 22 June 2019.

Tickets is now available on sale at

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