Namarina dancers shine in Cinderella performance

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The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 12/03/2006 1:05 PM 
Kathy Petite, Contributor, Jakarta

Hard to believe, but it’s true. That may well be what is in our mind when we turn 50. Obviously, a stage of maturity and broad experience. For Namarina who is celebrating its golden anniversary in 2006, this is surely a special year. Thus, a series of interesting events that involve dance and fitness have been held since March to celebrate its 50th birthday. One of these events was the performance of Cinderella on Nov. 25 and 26 at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta.

Cinderella, a classic tale, know and loved by young girls of all ages, was chosen as the story. During the show that lasted for almost two hours, the audience was mesmerized by 46 dancers who moved gracefully on the stage illuminated by red and yellowish spotlights. Played in three acts, the performance was a harmonious blend of ballet and modern jazz choreographed by Dinar Karina, an experienced ballet instructor, with a warm and modest personality, who has taught at Namarina since 1983.

Like seeing Meryl Streep’s name in a movie synopsis, the name Namarina itself already promises an impressive show. So it wasn’t too much of a surprise to see such a brilliant performance of the dancers in Cinderella. Whether it was a sad, cheerful, or dreamy moment, they were able to convey the mood and emotion expressively through each of their steps and turns. Soraya Thajeb, one of Namarina’s leading dancers and also an instructor, cast as Cinderella, captured audience’s hearts from the moment she entered the stage. With Enrico Tanod as the Prince, they both built a strong chemistry, which was instantly shown in the first dance they had at the ball. The charming couple of course wouldn’t be complete without the equally pleasing and amusing performance of Rialita Wijaya as the stepmom, and the two sisters played by Agatha Pritania and Ajeng Soelaeman. An appearance of the famous, multi-talented Sherina Munaf surely was a considerable contribution to the show as well. Besides taking the role of fairy godmother, she composed the theme song for Cinderella.

Looks like not only Hollywood filmmakers know how to surprise their viewers. Namarina blew the audience away when it came to act three with a nice little twist. In the finale, the plot was improvised a bit by having the prince wander around the world, traveling from one country to another in his quest to find the girl whose feet matched the shoe. This was where the audience was hypnotized by a fabulous series of contemporary dances with international nuances from Spain, Africa, India and Japan before the quest finally came to Indonesia. As Dinar Karina said: “”This is not purely a ballet performance, that’s why we added an international color to the dance. And the perfect time to show it was in the last act.”" What was also memorable in the final act was the “”Spanish momento”" where we got deeply immersed in the breathtakingly sight of the beautiful, passionate dance between Enrico Tanod and Ajeng Soelaeman. Accompanied by the dynamic rhythm of the music, the dazzling duo created an aura of intensity and connection through their impeccable pas de deux.

Music of course played an important role in creating the mood. Instead of just classical tunes throughout the performance, the compilation was enriched with some New Age pieces from David Lanz and Secret Garden with its soulful violin. Japanese artists like Toshiro Masuda and Yuki Kajiura also took part. The latter is known as a composer who has provided music/soundtracks for several top anime series.

Adding to the striking performance was the magic touch provided by Samuel Wattimena, a fashion designer who is known for his many years of experience in designing costumes for dance, theater, film, and other art and cultural events. Through his simple and elegant dresses, Samuel’s creativity brought out the characters and emotions. Bold, vibrant colors that dominated the wardrobes of stepmom and the two stepsisters for example, clearly highlighted their characters. In the final act, it was noted that Samuel used nothing but black and white — accentuated by small additions such as cute red roses for the Spanish dancers, or fans for the Japanese ones. For Samuel, black and white represents the philosophy of Yin and Yang — a combination that leads to balance. Like he explained, “”Good and bad things are everywhere in the world, not only here in Indonesia. But beauty always comes out as a result of negative and positive.”"

So, indeed no one would argue that Cinderella was not a huge success. The sounds of the audience applause is still ringing in my ears and the buzz of compliments and praise from the crowd walking out of the theater. Maya Tamara, the head of Namarina as well as the artistic director whose international experience in the world of ballet is truly broad, acknowledged that the challenge of producing Cinderella was to produce an entertaining show combining classical ballet and modern dance. The challenge was definitely met by this highly respected, solid ballet dance company. At its golden anniversary, it is shining even brighter.


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