This interview is particularly ground breaking for Lavatory Records as we continue to unearth untold stories. Our feature, Nicole Fortuin is a dancer and actress, who mostly regards herself as a “performer and creative” due to her versatility and multi-talented capabilities. Her dynamism is exhibited by her personally envisioned production We Are Ours, which can be viewed on her YouTube channel.
Dance embodies the ability to take on roles using technical poise, grace and supple-flexibility through physical extensions of the body. This requires rigorous practice and recitations to play characters, without the aid of verbal communication and expression. Hence, it should be no so surprise that Nicole was able to seamlessly transit into acting.
Music as the common epicentre, between dance and film productions alike, brought about this showcase of Ms Fortuin to illustrate the inter-connectivity of entertainment at large. As she is also the first female feature on the Lavatory Records publication, this interview is ground-breaking and pioneering in more ways than one.
Lavatory Records: For those who don’t know you, who is Nicole Fortuin?
Nicole: I think Nicole is a hard-working, committed and creative person. She is ambitious and excited about life. She is both confident and shy…depending on the day. I’m originally from Cape Town and made the big move to Johannesburg in March of this year. I completed a four year degree in Theatre and Performance, at the University of Cape Town. I travelled to Los Angeles and Russia to represent South Africa as a Hip-Hop dancer. I had the opportunity to recently play Rolene, the lead in Sue-Pam Grant’s Curl Up and Dye, as directed by Christopher Weare.
My business partner, Koleka Putuma, and I started our own theatre company called Velvet Spine. Our first production debuted at the Infecting The City Festival in March, which led to it receiving rave reviews.
LR: How did you first get introduced to dance?
Nicole: I got introduced to dance when I was three years old. I formally started acting/drama classes when I was 16.
LR: How big is the dance scene here in South Africa?
Nicole: The South African dance industry is bigger than most people would think. Particularly within the underground hip-hop scene, where the following is quite massive. I think dancers who are committed and visible, can definitely make a living. I have friends who have been dancing for years and haven’t gone hungry for more than two days (laughs).
LR: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into the field of dance?
Nicole: I think advice to all performers from me and not just dancers would be; you have to be brave. Take risks, do what scares you, know yourself and trust yourself. Be healthy, in all the ways and work hard.
LR: What inspired you to put together your piece entitled “We Are Ours”?
Nicole: We Are Ours came about as a two-week project for my end of year showcase at UCT. I wrote the song about being away from my twin-soul (my boyfriend), an aspiring music producer Joshua The I-am. He made the track, I sang and CoSher put it all together. I asked some friends to shoot it and edit it. I then did some final editing and choreographed all the dancing myself. I even styled it all by myself (laughs)! It’s just a personal project that I enjoyed to see realised even though I had no time to do it all in (laughs). I had a lot of fun.
LR: Why and how did you make the jump from dance to acting?
Nicole: I made the jump from dancing to acting when I got into the Theatre and Performance programme at UCT. I then kept all my dancing to a minimum, so as to really refocus and make sure that the actress in me had a fair shot at blooming.
Now I like to call myself a performer or creative. I enjoy dancing, singing, modelling, acting, taking photos and designing posters and t-shirts etc.
LR: Any productions you’ve been involved in that we should look out for?
Nicole: You should probably keep your eyes on SABC 3 around the month of June. Roer Jou Voete is a brand new drama series in which I play Maryke, which is a principal role. I’ve also just received word that I got a part in a certain pantomime at the end of the year…I unfortunately can’t say anything more.
LR: What changes would you like to see in both the local dance industry, as well as the local film industry?
Nicole: I think the changes I’d like to see in the entertainment industry are already happening. The changes I’m seeing such as diversity in TV roles, interesting storylines and a movement towards producing excellence, are now happening. I also really hope to see NATIONAL PRIDE in telling and being a part of South African stories, instead of always gravitating to the American/British modus operandi.
LR: What do you do to relax, away from your professional engagements?
Nicole: What I do to relax, I just like to play a lot. I love nature. I love watching Game of Thrones. I love walking and playing “dress up” (go figure)!
LR: Do you have any special mentions you want to shout out?
Nicole: I think I’d have to shout out all the cast and crew of Roer Jou Voete. We are pulling off amazing things in a very limited time frame. I’m so excited I’ve received so much help and love from my boyfriend Joshua and his family while settling down in the “city of gold”. I’m so grateful for having him as he is really such a blessing. Lastly I’d need to thank my mum, Diane Fortuin. She has supported me and sacrificed so much to make my dreams a possibility and ultimately a reality.
We thank Nicole for allowing us the opportunity to speak to her, despite her busy diary. To keep up with Nicole follow her Facebook Page, and on Twitter: @nicoleoncue, Instagram: @nicoleoncue. You can also follow her production firm Velvet Spine on Facebook and tune into SABC 3 around the month of June, for the premiering of Roer Jou Voete (check your TV Guide for local listings).