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10th Indonesian Dance Festival: Goethe Institut Regional Critic Workshop

June 14-18, 2010


 Da Contents H2

introduction
July 12 2010
10th indonesian dance festival: dance, future tense
keith gallasch: regional dance criticism workshop, jakarta


a dance work revived: faith restored
devi fritrai: gusmiati suid, seruan

aspiration and influence
joelle jacinto: final night idf program

beyond absence
bilquis hijjas: meg stuart & philipp gehmacher's maybe forever

borderline control
giang dang: contact gonzo

cool tensions
giang dang: s]h]elf

dancing between tradition & modernity
devi fitria: idf emerging choreographers

dancing into identity
melissa quek: idf emerging choreographers program

dancing to the threshhold
bilqis hijjas: cross over dance company, middle

July 12 2010
earth's slow death dance
melissa quek: asri mery sidowati’s merah

fighting as performance
cat ruka: contact gonzo and sayaka himeno

foreign bodies
giang dang: meg stuart & philipp gehmacher's maybe forever

from betamax to dvd
san phalla: jeckosdance, from betamax to dvd

indonesian contemporary dance: multiple personalities
melissa quek: idf closing program

into the vortex
devi fitria: asri mery sidowati’s merah

journey into light
joelle jacinto: asri mery sidowati’s merah

love and its disconnects
cat ruka: meg stuart & philipp gehmacher's maybe forever

July 12 2010
noise in contemporary asian dance
pawit mahasarinand: darkness poomba and contact gonzo

one shoe on, one shoe off
bilqis hijjas: muslimin b pranowo, the young

shaking the spectator's heart
phalla san: kim jae duk, darkness poomba

strange worlds, mutating forms
cat ruka: kim jae duk's darkness poomba

such is life, and so is love
pawit mahasarinand: meg stuart & philipp gehmacher's maybe forever

when does forever end?
joelle Jacinto: meg stuart & philipp gehmacher’s maybe forever

working the audience
melissa quek: contact gonzo & darkness poomba

 

into the vortex

devi fitria: asri mery sidowati’s merah

Devi Fitria is a Jakarta-based journalist who works for the Indonesian art magazine ARTI and an online history magazine, HISTORIA: www.majalah-historia.com.

Merah Merah
photo Phalla San
AT THE BEGINNING OF ASRI MERY SIDOWATI’S MERAH (RED), THE STAGE IS IN TOTAL DARKNESS UNTIL SEVERAL DIM LIGHTS ALLOW A GLIMPSE OF TWO FIGURES. WE SEE AN ALMOST NAKED MAN IN A LOIN CLOTH AND WOMAN WEARING A TIGHT DARK OUTFIT WRAPPED AROUND HER BODY FROM TOP TO ALMOST TOE, THE DESIGN MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE TO SEE HER FACE.

In the background there's a sound like a cricket, adding to a heightened sense of quiet. It's as if we are being drawn into a jungle, but serenity brings with it a terrorizing kind of solitude. The stage is dark again. Gradually the sound changes to a kind of a heavy mumbling while scattered rays are slowly projected on the backdrop, like sunlight peeking through forest trees, but again suggesting stillness.

Originally a 2006 graduation piece, Merah was made during the hype of Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. It tries to take us into the vortex of global warming, rain forest destruction and other environmental crises, although the elaboration of the work's theme is not quite clear.

The almost naked man bends at the knees and crosses his hands in front of his chest, mimicking the flapping wings of a bird and symbolising hope or, perhaps, the birth of life itself. At first this 'bird' flies slowly and then faster and higher, so high that the man must let it go.

In another scene the stage becomes almost red, as if something bad is taking its course. The man squats as if great pressure is being imposed upon him, his hands pulled back, his face in grinning as if in pain. He bends lower and lower, moving slowly, meticulously transforming his pose, making the working of his muscles visible—a movement tradition rooted in the dance of Topeng Panji (Panji Mask) of West Java.

Towards the ending of Merah, the man wraps his body around the woman like a belt or a snake which she accepts with strength and without complaint. She bends as a vest descends, partially covered with broken mirrors. The man climbs onto her back and slips into the garment, scattering light through the theatre.

For the choreographer perhaps the male figure represents the human species while the woman is nature, bowing to man and subject to destruction. All aspects of the performance—its stillness, the low lighting and slow movement—conveyed haunting imagery if not making the work's meaning finally clear.


Indonesian Dance Festival 2010: Merah, choreographer Asri Mery Sidowati, performers Asri Mery Sidowati, Serraimere Boogie Y Koirewoa, music Arif Susanto, sound Teuku Rifnu Wikana, costumes Ling Ling; Teater Luwes, Jakarta, June 15

Devi Fitria is a Jakarta-based journalist who works for the Indonesian art magazine ARTI and an online history magazine, HISTORIA: www.majalah-historia.com.

© Devi Fritrai; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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