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10th Indonesian Dance Festival: Goethe Institut Regional Critic Workshop

June 14-18, 2010

 Da Contents H2

January 27 2016
Dana Waranara—Privilege and Responsibility
Andrea James

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


10th indonesian dance festival: dance, future tense

keith gallasch: regional dance criticism workshop, jakarta

l-r: Devi Fitria, Melissa Quek, Dinyah Dinyah Latuconsina (Cultural Program Assistant), Keith Gallasch, Giang Dang, Joelle Jacinto, Cat Ruka, Bilqis Hijjas, Pawit Mahasarinand
l-r: Devi Fitria, Melissa Quek, Dinyah Dinyah Latuconsina (Cultural Program Assistant), Keith Gallasch, Giang Dang, Joelle Jacinto, Cat Ruka, Bilqis Hijjas, Pawit Mahasarinand

photo Phalla San

Amidst the festival hubub, new cuisine experiences, nerve wracking city traffic and World Cup tensions (after all, our host was a proud and anxious Goethe Institut), the workshop team saw shows, discussed and wrote (late at night or early in the morning), read each other's reviews and shared knowledge and opinions.

The workshop participants were a fascinating mix: some had professional dance and producing experience, some were already reviewing, running blogs or contributing to magazines and newspapers, others were starting out.

Cat Ruka from New Zealand is a dancer, performance artist and the editor of Yellingmouth, an Auckland-based dance review blog. Melissa Quek from Singapore is a choreographer, a teacher at LASALLE College of the Arts
and a freelance dance reviewer for The Business Times. Joelle Jacinto from the Philippines is a dancer and a freelance writer with many years of experience. She is editor-in-chief of Runthru, a bi-annual dance magazine and website. Bilqis Hijjas creates, performs, produces, teaches and writes about contemporary dance in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and runs a residency for choreographers at the private arts centre Rimbun Dahan. Devi Fitria is a Jakarta-based journalist who works for the Indonesian art magazine ARTI and an online history magazine, HISTORIA. San Phalla lives in Phnom Penh, holds degrees in Southeast Asian Studies and archaeology and works as a researcher for Khmer Arts, a Cambodian classical dance company that tours the world. Dang Giang, from Vietnam, is a writer and cultural and social activist.

Pawit Mahasarinand Pawit Mahasarinand
photo Keith Gallasch
Parwit Mahasarinand, a theatre lecturer and dance reviewer since 2000 for The Nation English language newspaper in Bangkok, was a very welcome addition to the workshop after he'd delivered a keynote address ("If we write more—Observations on contemporary dance criticism in Asia").

Dance scholar, archivist and writer Franz Anton Cramer (Paris/Berlin) delivered two talks, one on the ethics and aesthetics of criticism and the other an invaluable and subsequently hotly debated introduction to the works of Meg Stuart and Philipp Gehmacher who were performing Maybe Forever in the festival.

The aim of the workshop was to improve the capacity of reviewers to vividly evoke the works they experience for their readers. Good reviewing (whether or not it consciously includes social, political and economic perspectives and passes critical judgment) cannot work effectively without this skill. Openness, strong recall, rich vocabulary, a structured response, the careful delivery of judgment, these were the workshop focus.

I was pleased that all participants willingly and bravely committed themselves to a challenging task—to respond very quickly to new dance works while focusing on writing skills and being subjected to criticism. As you read the reviews posted here do keep in mind that they were written under pressure and with limited time for editing and polishing. Despite these demands there are fine examples of vivid and thoughtful writing to be found in the 23 reviews that came out of a mere four days of what appeared to be happy labour. It was particularly pleasing to see increased attention not just to movement details but also to music, sound, set design, lighting and the ways in which, in this era of hybridity, various forms mix and meld.

The festival provided challenges for all of us in the workshop. Many works drew on traditional dance, customs and beliefs, sometimes leaving us guessing as to specific meanings while fascinated with what we seen. It's doubly difficult given that the works are themselves contemporary interpretations or re-workings of traditional forms. Sometimes one of our number had an answer, or we googled one, provisonally, knowing that a dance festival like this one can only serve as an introduction to unfamiliar forms. Inevitably we debated the advisability of reviewing works where we lacked cultural understanding—would we misrepresent what we saw or were we encouraging interest and a sense of inquiry?

l-r: Giang Dang, Phalla San, Joelle Jacinto [outside theatre] l-r: Giang Dang, Phalla San, Joelle Jacinto [outside theatre]
photo Keith Gallasch
Other issues discussed included the significance, or not, of English language dance reviewing in Asia, a shortage of good editing, and a certain reviewer caution about being judgmental—verbal opinions were often tougher than those that appeared in print, said a number of participants.

From the too real street fighting of contact Gonzo to the contemplative account of a relationship breakdown in Maybe Forever and on to a range of works that engage simultaneously with traditional Indonesian forms and contemporary ideas (about homosexuality, globalisation, identity, climate change), you'll discover in our workshop reviews an Indonesian dance festival engaged directly with the role of dance as art, and as life.

It's hoped that the workshop will further the bringing together of dance artists and writers in the region.

The initials of the workshop writers will link you to their reviews of the following works:

Kim Jae Duk Project, Darkness Poomba [South Korea]: PS, CR, MQ, PM
contact Gonzo [Japan]: CR, GD, PM, MQ
Gusmiati Suid, Seruan [Indonesia]: DF
Asry Mery Sidowat, Merah [Indonesia]: JJ, MQ, DF
Muslimin B Pranowo, The Young [Indonesia]: BH
Jecko Siompo, From Betamax to DVD [Indonesia]: PS, MQ, JJ
Eko Supriyanto, Home: Ungratifying Life [Indonesia]: JJ, MQ
Vincent Sekwati, Barena ‘Chiefs’ [Indonesia]: MQ
Shinta Maulita, GAYaku [Indonesia]: DF, MQ
Ajeng Soelaiman, Andara Firman, S]h]elf [Indonesia]: GD
Cross Over Dance Company, Middle [Taiwan]: BH
Meg Stuart, Philipp Gehmacher, Maybe Forever [Berlin/Vienna]: BH, CR, GD, JJ, PM
Joko Sudibyo, Cekrek [Indonesia]: MQ, DF
Closing Night Performance: JJ, MQ
Emerging Choreographers Program: MQ, DF

You can see all 23 reviews at 10th Indonesian Dance Festival: Goethe Institut Regional Critic Workshop

Goethe Institut Indonesia, Regional Dance Critic Workshop, June 14-18, held during the 10th Indonesian Dance Festival, "Powering the Future", June 14-17

© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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