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EKI Update 3.0: A noble effort to connect with the youth

Dylan Amirio
Dylan Amirio

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Thu, November 30, 2017 | 09:53 am
EKI Update 3.0: A noble effort to connect with the youth

Strong: Jakarta Disabled Children's Foundation (YPAC) performances showcase the hidden talents of the foundation's members to the public. (JP/Rifky Dewandaru)

EKI Dance Company’s latest event, EKI Update 3.0, aims to bring audiences to the world of millennials.

In a barrage of hip lingo, imagery and topics, Eksotika Karmawibhangga Indonesia (EKI) Update 3.0 offers a night of variety, showcasing talks, dances, music, short drama and short films depicting the romanticized life of an Indonesian millennial in today’s society. 

Held at the Jakarta Arts Building at Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta, for three days spanning Nov. 28 to 30, this event is special in that it is a collaboration between the Foundation for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Children (YPAC), members of which join in the performances. 

A plethora of millennial memes and trends are used in the event’s marketing and in some of the actual performances as well. Hashtags such as #itsLIT#thotand #relatable are the titles of three programs of the evening. Even the ticket categories are even referred to by millennial slang: “LIT” for the expensive tickets, “Amazeballs” for the midrange tickets and “Dope” for the cheap tickets. 

In the air: A member of the EKI Dance Company tumbles and sways his way through a performance.In the air: A member of the EKI Dance Company tumbles and sways his way through a performance. (JP/Rifky Dewandaru)

It’s no wonder that the hashtag to promote this event is #LyfeKidsJamanNow,which is a spin-off of the popular Kids Jaman Now (Kids These Days) phrase that is being used by many over the age of 25 to show how insecure they feel about being disconnected from the younger generation. 

 EKI Update 3.0 is as Kids Jaman Now as it gets. The themes of the performances are relevant to issues today’s youth is going through, such as unrequited love, losing oneself in video games and the social aspect of Indonesians abroad and at home.

EKI’s general manager, Surya Setya Mulya, commented that the point of EKI Update 3.0 is to show that the problems of the youth today are not always centered on love, observing the fact that with the rise of social media, young people have become more sensitive toward what is going on in the world around them. 

“With social media, kids are no longer kids. The world’s problems are theirs as well. And that is the misconception that many older generation people have about the youth: that they are mainly self-centered,” Surya said. 

Roll with it: Performers from the Jakarta Disabled Children's Foundation (YPAC) join forces with EKI Dance Company for a powerful performance.Roll with it: Performers from the Jakarta Disabled Children's Foundation (YPAC) join forces with EKI Dance Company for a powerful performance. (JP/Rifky Dewandaru)

Frankly, the way the event is promoted and arranged is itself cringeworthy — the overuse of tropes just show how desperate the older members of the troupe are to connect with an out-of-reach youth by employing as many stereotypes as possible. 

Nonetheless, the actual performances were top-notch and well-rehearsed, and in terms of talent, EKI Dance Company is in no shortage of it.

Guest stars that will round out the three-day event include millennial stalwarts Morgan Oey, Ernest Prakasa and DJ duo KMKZ & David Beatt. All tickets for the three days have sold out. 

Aside from all the trope-shoving, a particularly heartwarming number in the program is the collaboration between EKI Sound Machine and children from the YPAC as a show choir singing three traditional Indonesian classics. 

As far as the rehearsal goes, the children, most of whom have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, will put on an amazingly honest performance with their energies projecting a really positive and uplifting atmosphere to the audience.  
Partnering with the YPAC, Surya said, was a monumental honor for the troupe as the event could be used as a way to break the perception that the disabled are in essence any different from nondisabled people.

Groove to it: Millennial social topics are interpreted through a modern dance using the soundtrack of notable productions such as Grease and La La Land.Groove to it: Millennial social topics are interpreted through a modern dance using the soundtrack of notable productions such as Grease and La La Land. (JP/Rifky Dewandaru)

“People tend to still see the disabled differently. We want to show that they should be and can be a part of the arts as they are basically normal children like the others. We have choreography based on wheelchairs, for example, and try to integrate every single person into the performance,” he said. 

EKI Dance Company itself is comprised, as described by EKI Update 3.0 producer and company president director Aiko Senosoenoto, as having two different generations separated by age. 

The millennial age group ranges from 25 to 30 years old and while the show might be more relevant to their generation, the older members of the troupe are also actively taking part in the event. 

“Generational bridging has always been our focus since EKI Update 1,” said Aiko.

“We try to tailor our performances so that both the old and young generations of this troupe [and the audience] enjoy what they’re doing and also understand it. We haven’t had a millennial-themed event before with the previous EKI updates.”

Whims of dance: The EKI Dance Company's finest mix traditional and current styles of dance into their performance during EKI Update 3.0.Whims of dance: The EKI Dance Company's finest mix traditional and current styles of dance into their performance during EKI Update 3.0. (JP/Rifky Dewandaru)

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