Off Stage

Sipping water and Red Bull before show

Rachel Lum (foreground) with other dancers in Pressured Pleasure.
Rachel Lum (foreground) with other dancers in Pressured Pleasure.PHOTO: JERYL LEE

Rachel Lum, 25, a founding member of contemporary dance company Re:Dance Theatre, is choreographing Pressured Pleasure, one part of a double bill show titled Parallel.

The other work is choreographed by the company's artistic director, Albert Tiong.

This is the second show for RDT2, a semi-professional subsidiary company of Re:Dance Theatre.

How do you go about creating new work?

I am intrigued by gory movies such as The Human Centipede (2009) by Dutch writer-director Tom Six, for example, and pictures depicting scenarios such as a boss sitting on his employees.

I like awkward movements where the body is contorted and they are a bit abstract. The movements are intense - people don't really dare to explore these things in Singapore.

They spark something in my head and get my creative juices flowing.

Which do you prefer, dancing or choreographing?

I really enjoy dancing. You have to keep moving and you get to work with different choreographers.

Doing choreography is tough and I'm still learning. It's a different set of skills and you have to think about how you want to convey your ideas to the audience. You can't please everybody.

Do you ever get nervous before a performance?

Yes. Usually I will take a sip of water, Red Bull, water and then more Red Bull, to calm myself. I don't know what it does, maybe it is just a subconscious thing to make myself feel better.

Besides dance, do you engage in other physical activities?

I am into yoga and am learning some inversions. Even though I'm bad at it, I just keep trying.

Dancing is intensive and so is yoga, but somehow yoga makes you breathe and not think about so many things.

What are some common misconceptions about dancers?

When it comes to dance, everybody will judge you by how your body looks.

I don't have the typical "dancer's body". When I tell insurance agents that I'm a dancer, they don't believe me.

But just because I'm not tall and lean, it doesn't mean that I'm not a dancer. I'm still learning how to embrace my body. In dance, you have to know that everybody's body is different. I like working with different people.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2016, with the headline 'Sipping water and Red Bull before show'. Print Edition | Subscribe