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Shakespeare-inspired dance performance presents silence on stage

Jessicha Valentina
Jessicha Valentina

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, November 3, 2016  /  02:37 pm
Shakespeare-inspired dance performance presents silence on stage

Indonesian Dance Festival 2016 officially opens on Tuesday at Teater Jakarta in Taman Ismail Marzuki in Central Jakarta. Running until Nov. 5, the festival kicks off with a dance performance presented by Indonesian performance artist Melati Suryodarmo. (Indonesian Dance Festival (IDF)/File)

Silence and dance are two different worlds. Dance performance without music or noise is something unthinkable. Indonesian performance artist Melati Suryodarmo successfully combined these two different worlds during the opening of Indonesian Dance Festival 2016 on Tuesday at Teater Jakarta in Taman Ismail Marzuki, Central Jakarta.

Titled Tomorrow, as purposed, the performance was inspired by William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Those already familiar with the story of a Scottish general’s ambition upon hearing a prophecy from three witches may find that Melati presented it in a totally different manner, as she chose to share her own interpretation by portraying the theme of greed through dance, theater and music.

(Read also: Dance festival to explore beyond art of dance, music)

The performance began with a man dressed in red, standing on stage and staring at the audience. The room was silent until the performer moved slowly. This silence caught the audience’s attention and kept them guessing as to what was going to happen next.

The slow-paced scenes did not make the show boring. Slowly but sure, the stage came alive, but with very minimal sound. The dancers' movements were slow, but the body gestures were strong. The silence was later broken with the sound of coins being dropped on stage, illustrating greed. It was then followed by songs and music played at a low volume.

Melati brilliantly incorporated the Voca Erudita Choir from Sebelas Maret University (UNS) in Surakarta into the performance. The audience was quickly hypnotized when the choir appeared on stage and performed songs.

Melati’s purpose was clear. She wanted to show that sometimes silence speaks louder than noise. Even when the human body moves slowly, it can actually tell a story, as long as we are willing to pay attention. (kes)

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