Pulsing heart through an emotional journey

Dancers rehearse Raw Moves' latest production, The Fleeting Moment.
Dancers rehearse Raw Moves' latest production, The Fleeting Moment.PHOTO: RAW MOVES

A chance encounter on social media reunited friends and dance makers Ricky Sim and Teresa Ranieri after 13 years.

The Singaporean, who is the artistic director of four-year-old contemporary dance company Raw Moves, was dancing in Germany when he first met the Italian choreo- grapher in 2002.

Sim, 45, says: "We parted ways and it was through Facebook that we found each other and ignited the friendship again."

  • BOOK IT / THE FLEETING MOMENT

  • WHERE: Goodman Arts Centre, Black Box

    WHEN: Tomorrow to Saturday, 8pm

    ADMISSION: $32 from www.peatix.com

    INFO: Go to www.rawmoves.net

"A long way," interjected Ranieri, laughing. She is here for a six-week residency with the company, which will stage a full-scale work titled The Fleeting Moment from tomorrow to Saturday.

A media preview of the work revealed a tender exploration about how people navigate connections within themselves and with others.

Here, three dancers mimic a pulsing human heart, moving as one. There, they slam their own bodies to the ground, catching their breaths.

"This was personal research about how we, as human beings, can find inner balance when we are facing difficult situations, dealing with memories, worries, about the future," says Ranieri, 49.

There are six dancers in the piece. The sole male dancer acts as the main character going through this emotional journey. The five female dancers act as counterbalances or extensions of the main character.

The piece will incorporate multimedia, lights and an original score to help build that mental landscape.

The expressive Ranieri adds that the piece does not dwell on the negative but on the recognition that "these moments are fleeting, like anything else in life with good moments, bad moments, joy, sorrow, regret and success".

The title of the piece also alludes to the art of dance, she says, "because every time you perform a piece, it's something else."

She has performed throughout Europe, working with different companies and choreographers including American creator William Forsythe, acclaimed for his work with the Ballet Frankfurt and his own Forsythe Company.

Ranieri holds a master's degree in dance pedagogy and movement research and teaches mindfulness, a practice of being present and attuned to one's stream of consciousness. Mindfulness is something she wants to impart to the dancers.

The dancers possess "the beautiful quality of being committed to what the choreographer says", but she wants them to go beyond the steps to feeling their "personal sensation" about the ideas of the piece. She says: "I told them that I have to slowly disappear from this structure. Then if you move from one side of the room to the other, it's because your body decides to. So that becomes their experience and not mine."

This dialogue is important for Raw Moves. Ranieri's residency is part of the company's Research and Development platform, which is focused on research and reflection, says Sim, "and not about churning out products".

He adds: "Among dancers and creators, there's an exchange. Because we want to throw away the stigma that dancers should only listen and move."

Company dancer Melyn Chew, 21, likes this as it is a meeting of minds .

She says: "Teresa gives a lot of her own style, but she will also see how we move and modify from there. So we meet at a common point."

Says Ranieri: "I want to create a positive experience for the dancers to grow as human beings.

"Of course, they have steps to learn, but then, it's about their own experience and their own sensation. I'm really looking for that."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2015, with the headline 'Pulsing heart through an emotional journey'. Print Edition | Subscribe