Dancers to Bring Indonesian Ballet to The Stage

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The country’s ballet dancers are joining forces to present the first international event that aims to introduce Indonesian ballet.

The first Indonesian Ballet Gala is slated to be held on Aug. 22 at the Ciputra Artpreneur Theater in South Jakarta. The event is initiated by the Ballet Indonesia Foundation, also known as Ballet.id, in collaboration with three distinguished ballet schools.

Dancers from Ballet Sumber Cipta, Marlupi Dance Academy and Namarina Youth Dance will share the stage with world-class dancers from the Korean National Ballet, West Australian Ballet and Bayerisches Staatsballet as well as dancers from Australia and the Czech Republic.

Ballet.id cofounder Meutia Chaerani said that the collaborative performance was expected to give birth to a national ballet company.

“Ballet is still associated with foreign art, although as an art form, ballet techniques can be used to develop traditional Indonesian dances,” she said at a recent media conference on the event.

The Indonesian traditional ballet genre has long been under the care of ballet maestros the late Farida Oetoyo with her piece Impian Sinta (Sinta’s Dream); Nanny Lubis with Bawang Merah-Bawang Putih (The Tale of Two Sisters) and Julianti Parani with her Sangkuriang ballet.

Maya Tamara, the daughter of Nanny Lubis, who founded Namarina Youth Dance (NYD) as a semi-professional dance group, said that while ballet techniques in general focused on steps and poses, Indonesian traditional ballet introduced elaborate movement of the arms.

“I hope through the event Indonesian traditional ballet will gain recognition on the world stage,” she said at the event.

Also in attendance at the media conference were representatives from the Korean, Australian and Czech embassies as well as South Korean Cultural Center head Rezky Seokgi Kim.

Musician Aksan Sjuman, Farida’s son, represented his mother’s school Sumber Cipta, which will present one of her masterpieces, Tok, at the gala event.

“The dance was first performed in 1985 with music composed by [the late] Slamet Abdul Sjukur and has won international awards. My mother made several versions of it. We will perform the latest version with a new a music arrangement of my own.”

The dance tells a story surrounding infidelity using Javanese wooden masks and Balinese clothing as props. Dancer Marich Prakoso will be the lead male dancer.

Young choreographer Claresta Alim, whose works won first and second prizes at the International Youth Dance Festival in Hong Kong last year, created The Journey repertoire for the ballet gala to be performed by Marlupi dancers.

“It shows Balinese daily life, but it also reflects the struggle of my grandmother and mother developing the school,” she said.

NYD will be the closing act for the first stage of the ballet gala with an excerpt from The Seven Veils, an adaption of folklore Jaka Tarub.

Eighteen-year-old Felicia Harenya will dance the part of Nawang Wulan, the lead character of the story.

Korean National Ballet art director Kang Seu-jin said the company would send 14 dancers to perform a pas de deux from Don Quixote and two excerpts from Prince Hodong repertoire. The group will also perform contemporary pieces Little Monsters, Ballet 101 and Are You as Big as Me?

“We are excited to perform at the Indonesian Ballet Gala. I hope we can collaborate more in the future,” she said in a video call during the press conference.

A string of events will be held before the event. The Australian Embassy has provided assistance in the organization of Ballet Goes to Ciliwung, in which children living in slum areas will be given dance lessons from half-Indonesian ballerina Juliet Burnett. Selected children will be awarded scholarships to a dance school.

Selected ballet students age 11 and older from schools grouped under the Indonesian Association of Ballet Teachers and Trainers (IPPB) will also be invited to Burnett’s class, while intermediate and advanced students can join a master class tutored by Czech’s Barbora Kohoutkova, Lukas Slavicky and Korean National Ballet dancers.

“In a bid to develop ballet in Indonesia, we’d like to use the opportunity to allow young Indonesians to learn ballet from the masters,” said Meutia.

(Jakarta Post, Wednesday, 19 August 2015, by: Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak)

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