SHAI was founded in 2008 by Mr Tan Thiam Lye BBM(L), a prominent local figure, who also serves as the Institute’s President. The objectives of the Institute are: to preserve Chinese culture; to promote the traditional arts; and to develop the arts of Chinese music and dance in Singapore.
Under the aegis of SHAI are three departments: Chinese Dance Department, Nanyin Department and Chinese Music Department. The three departments are intended to balance the development of the traditional arts. Each department appeals to a different sector of interested people who might be drawn here to learn and study. SHAI spares nothing to engage young people who are keen. The aim is to groom performers who are artistically accomplished and of good character to carry on the traditional arts.
To advance the development of the traditional arts, SHAI adopted Nanyin, a representative form of ancient Chinese music which has taken roots in the Nanyang (Southeast Asian) region, various plucked-string and percussion musical forms, and opera performing. It plans to run classes at beginner, intermediate, advanced and research levels. From time to time in the future, it will also conduct courses on various types of contemporary performing arts.
As as a subsidiary of Koo Chye Ba Sheng Hong Temple, a noted religious charity in Singapore, SHAI is likewise committed to uphold similar objectives of promoting social stability and inter-racial harmony. In its aim to promote the traditional arts it is therefore quite different from other arts schools in a number of ways.
To reach out to the community, the courses are open to everyone without restriction on age. Currently there are 250 students in our Institute, of whom the youngest is 2.5 years old and the eldest is 86 years old.