rehab creative arts was registered on the 24th August 2016 (NPO)
(A journal written a months ago… and it is still a work in progress…)
Goals – Manifest!
I have no idea why I started putting this together this morning. I realise that people come to me to dance not because they want to learn a specific technique or style of dancing but simply because they are searching for a way to heal…to channel their emotions so they feel a little better about themselves. Over the years, the people I have met are those who want some kind of enlightenment through Dance. They come to me with that energy and I then transform it into a piece of choreography.
The first work I created was called ‘StarStruck’ for Sutra during my holiday before I returned to the UK to continue my contract with Shobana Jeyasingh. ‘StarStruck’ was all about breaking boundaries, which was what the young Sutra dancers needed at that time; To break away from their classical forms and look at it from a different perspective. That work further developed the dancers to be more open minded and be sure about themselves in order to be confident enough to take the risks in their identities; which in time with an intense exploration of self expression in movement, their inhibitions were broken away and they each found their own strengths in their dance.
The second work titled ‘Rebel Without A Cause’ was a duet with Suhaili Micheline which I choreographed and danced in. This work is one of the very few contemporary female duets that was created in 2009, and later nominated for Best Choreography in a Mixed Bill for 7th Annual Boh Cameronian Arts Awards 2009. This work was produced right after my employment with Shobana Jeyasigh, and Suhaili at that time returned from Australia as a fresh dance major graduate. We both felt that we needed to channel our ideas that has been collected over the years of dancing, training, working, performing abroad. Our experiences of dancing abroad brought ideas that contradicted to the local culture with its Do’s and Don’ts, its conformity and behavior in accordance with socially accepted conventions and standards. Hence the work titled “Rebel Without A Cause’ portrays the struggles faced during the process of rebelling against conformity.
After a few solo works of my own self-healing, I was then given the opportunity to create a piece for Sutra once again; my choreography was titled by Master Ramli Ibrahim, and it was called ‘Panjara’. It was about strength and women equality. Panjara examines myths—the archetypes of mythology and how their avatars perpetuate these in our contemporary psyches through various transfigurations. Panjara takes its cue from the present scenario, in which a majority of women are disenfranchised and suppressed. How far can women compromise what is due to their rights as human beings when they are denied the full range of their dynamism in this fast changing world? This too was a work that empowered ourselves as female dancers. We challenged ourselves by utilizing bars to enhance our skills in dance, which brought together elements of classical and contemporary, it was beautifully balanced. It was about building that strength to hold on, to be strong, to take the risk, to take the challenge! The amount of hard work and energy for this piece was so demanding and extreme that by the end of the season, some of us fell ill with dengue! However, it was a huge success and audiences have never seen anything like it. And most importantly, it left something magical and inspiring for each and every dancer including myself who danced in Panjara.
In 2015, Uncle Joseph Gonzales invited me to partake in the Young Malaysian Choreography Showcase and coincidentally Jan asked me to come over to go through some old items of Odissi together in her space. So I thought that it would it would be nice for a change to collaborate with Jan to make a contemporary piece, because the last time we danced together was in 2009 for Sutra’s Rasa Unmasked. Although we have never partnered on stage, I had always wondered if our energies could mix to create something interesting. Jan has a very calm and poised energy, whereas I have a very loud and dynamic energy. I thought maybe these opposite qualities could merge and was curious to see if we could connect despite being so completely different.
Hence ‘rehab’ was created…
Synopsis of rehab + return: A collaborative effort between January Low and I which encompasses the idea of rebirth . renew . release . recover . rediscover .Two dancers find themselves in seemingly similar positions only to find out that the way of release is to reflect, recover and rediscover. And later it was further developed to a full-length work which combined ‘return’ and ‘rehab’. Read more about the processes here http://rathimalar.com/choreography/
I think I am ready and it is calling out to me to commence this initiative, though I always had this idea in my head but never really had the drive to make it happen, but for some reason I feel it more powerful than ever before now… and so this this is what I want to work towards to:
rehab creative arts
– a healing hub for artists
(a non profit entity)
-Why am I setting up rehab?
I need to. I feel it in my gutt that I have the potential of running a dance company that will produce substantial artistic works. I have the professional experiences that are crucial to be shared and contributed to the performing arts in Malaysia. There are very few dancers in Malaysia that have been fully employed by a pioneer dance company in the UK as I was with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance (2001-2006), therefore I have a lot to give as an artist that will benefit the arts locally and internationally.
-What do I hope to achieve?
I hope to achieve a specific artistic awareness especially in Dance in Malaysia. The arts is now slowly picking up and the awareness is growing, therefore I would like to take it to the next level of appreciation by making contemporary dance as a therapy for those who need some support and the channelling of thoughts and emotions that contributes to creativity and self healing. I believe dance can be beneficial to those who need help and based on that belief that the body, mind and spirit are interconnected, and that dance/movement therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement as a process that furthers the emotional, cognitive, social and physical integration of an individual. I want this initiative to help people to heal.
-What will set this apart from existing art companies/ institutions/ centres ?
rehab will be unique as it will only promote self-healing through dance. It is not only a dance initiative that contributes to the performing arts, but it will also focus on Dance Therapy in a professional setting. Dancers of all levels are encouraged to work together to create unity, to look into the socio political issues of the world in order to create collective voices to promote equality and diversity across backgrounds and cultures through Dance, this will in turn promote a therapeutic relationship, expression, communication, and adaptive behaviors. as a therapeutic tool that is designed to address physical, emotional, social, psychological and spiritual needs of an individual. A healing hub for artists, hence the name of the initiative – rehab!
-Why does the community need this kind of company?
Often times, people are stressed with their fast moving lives and the struggles by surviving to achieve a better lifestyle for today and for their future. Corporate and privatised businesses are all a typical rat race that consumes the community into a monotonous cycle of survival, and therefore, art is here to create that escapism, a channelling for those who need to bail themselves out of depression and heal through Dance that play as a life-giving form of social therapy, and therefore this is extremely crucial for our community, nation, and why, even globally!
-How will your company be funded?
1) Sponsors – Donors
2) Apply for funding
-Are there suitable and affordable venues in your area for rehearsing and performing?
1) I need to get a studio. A space to work in.
2) Perhaps rent a space only when there are projects? (for a start)
3) Later on, invest in getting my own studio
-Are there local dancers and administrators who will be able to realize your company’s vision?
1) UM Dancers
2) ASWARA dancers
3) Sutra dancers
4) TFA Dancers
6) Non-Dancers – Theatre Artists
7) Secondary School Dance Teachers and students
-Is there an audience that will be interested in and attend the company’s performances?
Yes, with the right approach.
VBuzz Interview 28th August 2016
Below is the full dance video clip of ‘Pain’ that was shown as an excerpt at the beginning of the interview…