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10th Indonesian Dance Festival: Goethe Institut Regional Critic Workshop

June 14-18, 2010


 Da Contents H2

INDIGENOUS DANCE: DANA WARANARA
January 27 2016
Dana Waranara—Privilege and Responsibility
Andrea James

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

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

July 12 2010
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

 

noise in contemporary asian dance

pawit mahasarinand: darkness poomba and contact gonzo


Darkness Poomba Darkness Poomba
photo Phalla San
AN EERIE, LOUD NOISE WAS HEARD DURING THE INTERMISSION FOR THE OPENING DAY’S MAIN PERFORMANCES AT THE 10TH INDONESIAN DANCE FESTIVAL (IDF). PERHAPS IT NOT ONLY SIGNALED THE AUDIENCE TO RETURN TO THEIR SEATS, BUT ALSO HINTED THAT KIM JAE DUK PROJECT’S DARKNESS POOMBA FROM KOREA WOULD LOOK AND SOUND VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE INDONESIAN CONTEMPORARY DANCE WORKS IN THE FIRST PART OF THE EVENING.

As the house lights dimmed and the curtains parted, we saw an electric guitar and bass on either side of the front of the stage, and upstage centre a drum set—to the delight of many dance audiences who prefer live to canned music. No musicians though. As two dancers moved downstage centre, we became aware of a singer behind a microphone in the house right aisle. The lyrics were in Korean, we thought, and that’s when some of us couldn’t help ignoring them, despite the singer’s vivacious hand gestures. And so music might suddenly become noise. Later on, the musicians took their places and, for a brief moment, the dancers stopped moving, giving the focus to the music.

Most of the time, though, the performance was multi-focus, attempting as it did to involve the audience—one dancer came down from the stage and up the house right aisle to sing and play instruments, while another two used the left aisle as their main stage. We were encouraged by the performers to clap along, and many of us did, and that’s perhaps when we felt we might have forgotten some dance-going etiquette. Then again, such restraint was established by Western classical ballet companies, and this is Korean contemporary dance.

Darkness Poomba is an example of how a unique intra-cultural experiment has led to engaging contemporary performance. This is thanks, in major part, to the fact that the choreographer and composer Kim Jae Duk has found, and emphasized, links between contemporary dance and an ancient singing tradition, Poomba—in which rhythm plays a stronger role than lyrics which, as a Korean tourism website explains, don't mean anything. Although the performance was explained in the festival’s printed program as “composed of 70% of dance and 30% of music”, the union of the two was such that it became “100% of contemporary performance” which reminded us of the relationship between dance and music, and how artists have been trained concurrently in many disciplines thoughout the history of many performing arts traditions.

It’s perhaps also another reminder that although many Asian contemporary choreographers look to European and American counterparts, sometimes they can just look back to, and 're-search,' their past. It may also be confirmation that although 'modern' equates with Western in many Asian countries, 'contemporary' is totally different.

Presented at an international festival, Darkness Poomba may also trigger our curiosity about the Poomba tradition. As the tourism website suggests, we can visit the National Pumba Festival every year in the town of Eumseong, to see and hear how the actual traditional street performance with funny make-up and costumes, or Lightness Poomba if you will, lifted up Korean spirits in poverty-stricken times.

Contact Gonzo and Sayaka Himeno, public space Contact Gonzo and Sayaka Himeno, public space
photo Phalla San
A few hours earlier, it was a young Japanese group contact Gonzo’s street dance performance that served as the soft opening—and a fitting one indeed—for the four-day festival. As about 100 people gathered around Plaza TIM, at the entrance to the host institution, noise from a bustling Jakarta street provided ambience that thematically fit the highly physical performance that was reminiscent of the street fights that takes place daily in many cities around the world. This was complemented by exuberant drumming, on a drum kit, by a female musician who, interestingly, rarely glanced at the four male dancers chasing and attacking—without actually hurting—one another. And occasionally we heard water bottles dropped and rolled around the cement floor. And unlike in Poomba, this soundscape didn’t set the rhythm of the dance, but rather added to the street ambience and the meaning of the piece.

Of course, many of us are still delighted to see contemporary dance works set to European classical music played to a live audience on CD, but, as a connotation of the term 'contemporary' suggests, there are also many other possibilities. After all, unlike theatre which is usually associated with, and powered by, spoken word that limits overseas exposure, contemporary dance speaks with body movements and music, or, as in these two cases, noise.


10th Indonesian Dance Festival: Kim Jae Duk Project, Darkness Poomba, choreographer, composer, dancer, musician Kim Jae Duk, with dancers and musicians; Graha Bhakti Sudaya, June 14; contact Gonzo and Sayaka Himeno, public space, Graha Bhakti Sudaya, Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta, June 14

© Pawit Mahasarinand; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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