Dance troupe Raw Moves cuts through the clutter in new production

(From left) Ebelle Chong, Neo Hong Chin and Pat Toh in Man Man Zou (Phase 1), one of three presentations in RawGround: Clutter.
(From left) Ebelle Chong, Neo Hong Chin and Pat Toh in Man Man Zou (Phase 1), one of three presentations in RawGround: Clutter.ST PHOTO: DAVE LIM

A game revolving around the concepts of fengshui, a question-and- answer session and the act of boiling water are not things one would normally associate with a showcase by a dance company.

But for Raw Moves' upcoming experimental showcase, RawGround: Clutter, its artists are encouraged to explore their creativity in any form.

"The idea is to explore raw ideas and get live honest feedback. There is no finished product - so everyone is being vulnerable," says artistic director Ricky Sim, 47.

RawGround takes place on July 14 and 15 at Raw Moves' studio in Goodman Arts Centre. This is the company's second edition of the showcase.

There are three presentations this year, which all revolve around the theme of "clutter".

Two are by company dancers Jeryl Lee, 26, and Matthew Goh, 24, while the third is a collaborative piece involving Raw Moves' company manager Ebelle Chong, 42.


  • WHERE: Raw Moves Studio, 01-08, Block B Goodman Arts Centre, 90 Goodman Road

    WHEN: July 14 & 15, 8pm

    ADMISSION: $10 (go to


In Wind Water, Lee presents a game where the audience has 15 minutes to arrange miniature styrofoam furniture on a table, according to fengshui concepts. Among the rules that will be displayed is "don't place mirrors in front of bed".

Fengshui is something personal for Lee, as her family members practise it. In her home, furniture is arranged according to fengshui principles even if it causes inconvenience.

She says: "I don't understand where they are coming from. For me, the house is a mess. I want to see whether, through this process, I still see fengshui as a form of clutter or can I see it from another point of view?"

Also tackling personal issues is Goh, with his live interview presentation titled PerforME.

Audience members can ask him any question by writing it on a piece of paper and dropping it into a box before the show. Goh will answer the questions, then put them in boxes marked "Clear", "Not Clear" and "Grey Zone", depending on the clarity of his answers. The audience will be able to dispute his decisions.

Goh, who presented a monologue about the Singapore identity in last year's RawGround while dressed as a Singapore girl, says he is exploring his personal identity this time.

He says: "This is research about who I am. I am very nervous that the questions will be very personal or difficult to answer, but I will try my best to be honest."

Rounding off the presentations is Chong's Man Man Zou (Phase 1), which means "walk slowly" in Mandarin. The work is a collaboration with theatre-maker Pat Toh, 36, and dancer Neo Hong Chin, 43.

Everyday props such as a table lamp, laptop and electric kettle support Toh's description of the work as being about the "performativity of the everyday life and the aesthetic of the mundane".

"We think of theatre and dance as a product or a shape, but we forget that even in daily lives, we're performing something constantly," she says.

This is the first phase of the work, which will be developed for a separate performance by Raw Moves in October.

Chong, who teaches dance and was a more active dancer and choreographer in the early 2000s, has been the company manager of Raw Moves for one year.

RawGround is one of the rare platforms where a dance company allows its members, and not just its dancers, to showcase their creativity. Sim says: "We want to advocate that all of us have ideas. We just have to be bold enough to share them. There is potential for each one of us to continue to dream."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2017, with the headline 'Raw exploration of creativity'. Print Edition | Subscribe