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25 Apr 2005

joavien ng and rusman rahmat

Fridae chats with FireBall dance artistes Crow Jane aka Joavien Ng, 32, and choreographer and costume designer Rusman Rahmat aka Tiara Nirmala, 41.

Presented by Singapore contemporary dance group, Ecnad, in conjunction with its 9th birthday celebrations, FireBall is an explosion of artistic expression dedicated to dance, drawing together more than 25 artists of various disciplines. It features concurrent photographic exhibitions, dance costume and graphic installations displayed in eye-popping styles, including a smorgasbord of dance, live music, jam sessions plus free outdoor activities.

FireBall dance artistes Crow Jane aka Joavien Ng, 32, and choreographer and costume designer Rusman Rahmat aka Tiara Nirmala.
æ: What's your "look"?
Joavien: Alternative.

Rusman: Versatile and ever changing, only fine artists would appreciate my "look".

æ: What are you currently occupied with?
Joavien: Rehearsing for FireBall. I've created a work called 'Lab.' It's about a specimen doing a series of programmed routine in a lab, while being watched and examined at all the time.

Rusman: Preparing my piece for FireBall, a red carpet party involving more than 20 artists in dance, music, photography, costumes and installation. Besides that, I teach jazz exclusively at ECNAD's studios, design costumes in my brain, experiment with the many possible personalities that I can be.

æ: What inspires you?
Joavien: Passion and persistence. I noticed that in the dance scene, people just assume that it's about the body, technique and visuals. It can be so much more than that. It's about the concept and presentation. The audience I want to reach out to is alternative and niche. I like to play with new things and new ideas. As an artiste, I realized that inspiration also has to come from within. That's what I like to expose myself to extremes, to gain a stronger perspective on life.

Rusman: Everything and anything made by God. Flowers, water, the skies, the moon, the mountains, MAN. I'm not a gadget person.

æ: What is your earliest childhood memory?
Joavien: Being locked up in the toilet. Maybe that inspired 'Toilet', my latest performance at the Esplanade.

Rusman: My sister taking me to the circus. I don't remember the tricks or much else, but I remember the smell of elephants and that throughout the show, I stared at the balloons.

æ: What is the achievement you are most proud of?
Joavien: Founded Crow Jane. Previously I would create works on an ad-hoc basis, every one or two years. I wasn't focused. I had worries and reservations that inhibited me from creating more productions. I would only take the safe path. For example when the National Arts Council presented my work in the Late Night series, I was comfortable because they would provide the venue and financial support. I was waiting for such opportunities. Then I got fedup with waiting. So I decided to start a solo 2-year plan to consolidate all my energy and resources to create 6 new works, with or without money, I would create work that I am satisfied with. I created a new person called Crow Jane.

Rusman: Being the first Malay in Singapore trained and certified in contemporary dance.

æ: If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
Rusman: I don't think I would change anything because today would not be the same. I grow, not change.

æ: How are you misunderstood?
Joavien: Never really thought about that.

Rusman: I'm not aware of any misunderstanding so far, because I'm straightforward with people.
æ: How do you spend your Sundays?
Joavien: Lazing around friends may come over to my place for a drink. They're old childhood friends from very different trades.

Rusman: Every Sunday, I make it a point to visit one of these places: Chinatown, Little India, Arab Street, Beach Road and Geylang, because that's where I feel a sense of belonging and harmony with my surroundings.

æ: Tell us one of your fantasies?
Joavien: Vodka free flow from my bathroom's tap.

Rusman: Walking on water, because I have a fear of deep water and have experienced drowning twice before.

æ: What was the most important thing that happened to you in the last 12 months?
Rusman: Being able to work more with my hands, for example, sewing sequins.

æ: What do you think is important in a relationship?
Joavien: Chemistry. Feeling comfortable with each other. No restrictions, no personal baggage.

Rusman: Balance - in age, so that the maturity level is about the same. In income, so that we're sharing, rather than dependant on each other. It's good when my partner has some interests and that we are open to possibilities. I believe love will never change; sex does.
I believe every person should be entitled to a tiny space, where no one ever tries to intrude.

æ: What (or who) turns you on?
Joavien: My partner.

Rusman: Tattoos.

æ: What's your biggest guilty pleasure?
Joavien: That's a difficult one, I seldom feel guilty about things I enjoyed. If it has to be, it will be spending close to a thousand bucks at cold storage on bottles of vodka within a period of a month. And mind you, it wasn't Absolut, I chose the cheapest - 'King Robert Vodka' Take note, all vodka drinkers!!!

Rusman: It happened only once: I witnessed an orgy between gorgeous guys, specially created for me on my birthday. It was a birthday present.

æ: What is your vision for the gay community?
Rusman: The vision of most gays - to be accepted by society.

æ: Tell us about a cause that you support?
Joavien: Push-up bras.

Rusman: I used to be idealistic, but I have realised that I cannot save the world. Now I just want to make people happy, especially through my work.

æ: Who would your dream date be if you were straight for a day?
Joavien: Whether I'm gay or straight, he will be none other that Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Carribean).

Rusman: A dancer I once met in Indonesia, who radiated beauty from head to toe. The way she moves, is as if she were floating between heaven and earth. Even her name means 'perfect diamond.' Magic is not enough to describe her.

æ: Tell us something even your mother doesn't know.
Joavien: My dad looks like John Lennon.

Rusman: My mother threw away our family dolls, because my sister was afraid of them. I was very angry. Why did she have to throw them, instead of hiding them? They were vintage Barbie dolls.

Venue: The Arts House The Old Parliament House, 1, Old Parliament Lane, 179429, Singapore
Date & Time: Exhibition: Apr 20 (Wed) - May 1 (Sun), 2005 (10am - 10 pm); performances: Apr 29 (Fri) - May 1 (Sun), 2005 (Outdoor: 7.30pm; Indoor: 8pm)
Tickets: S$28 / S$25 / S$21 / S$18;
outdoor performances & exhibitions free
Ticket Contact: The Art House
Box Office: 65-6332 6919 or www.theartshouse.com.sg








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