Testing boundaries with a rubber band rope

Rubber bands are used to transform a space into a boxing ring in Singaporean choreographer Jo-anne Lee's Bound.
Rubber bands are used to transform a space into a boxing ring in Singaporean choreographer Jo-anne Lee's Bound.PHOTO: RAW MOVES

Contemporary dance company Raw Moves is plumbing emotional and physical depths with its new show, R.e.P - an abbreviation for Repertory Platform.

The hour-long show is a double- bill by New York City-based Singaporean choreographer Jo-anne Lee and Singapore choreographer Foo Yun Ying.

Both underwent a six-week residency with the company's dancers to create these works.

In Lee's piece, Bound, a simple rope made of rubber bands becomes an effective tool for exploring the theme of physical limits.

It is used by the six dancers in her piece to play the childhood jump rope game of "zero-point" and is transformed into a boxing ring in which the dancers spar against one another.

"I jumped from a plane in New York last year and it was terrifying as well as exhilarating. This work is a playful way of testing boundaries," says Lee, 40.

  • BOOK IT / R.E.P 2016

  • WHERE: 90 Goodman Road, Goodman Arts Centre, Black Box, Block M, 01-53 WHEN: March 17 to 18, 8pm (The show on March 19 is sold out)

    ADMISSION: $28

    INFO: rawmovesrep2016.peatix.com

She moved to New York in 2000 to do her masters in dance at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and has been there since - working as a choreographer, actor, and yoga and pilates instructor.

For Foo, Act II - The Messy Middle explores the emotional struggles that one goes through, which are often swept under the carpet.

The work was inspired by a Ted talk and writings by American author and scholar Brene Brown, which discussed the power of vulnerability and how it can be seen as a strength.

Foo, 30, encouraged her four dancers to explore their personal struggles by asking them questions about themselves and encouraging them to write down their responses, which she later read.

The final dance piece is an abstract representation of the dancers' reflections.

"It's more of the experience, the feelings that they are trying to explore, rather than about laying out their stories in a narrative form," says Foo, an independent dance artist who also manages dance space Dance Nucleus at Goodman Arts Centre, an initiative of the National Arts Council.

In working with Foo and Lee, Raw Moves' artistic director Ricky Sim, 46, is reuniting with past collaborators.

He was in a duet with Lee in the 1990s and worked with Foo in a previous edition of R.e.P, in 2013.

This iteration of R.e.P marks a new focus for the company to work thematically each year.

This year, the theme is SG51 and Raw Moves will work exclusively with Singapore artists "near and far" throughout the year.

Sim says: "It is about the next 50 years of contemporary dance - how we reflect, look at our own people and how they can raise the level of artistry for the local audience."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2016, with the headline 'Testing boundaries with a rubber band rope'. Subscribe