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'It's Showtime!': IDCO fuses East and West

Dylan Amirio

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, October 12, 2018  /  08:30 am
'It's Showtime!': IDCO fuses East and West

In the spotlight: The performance is part of the dance troupe’s performance series. (The Jakarta Post/Charisa Vanessa G)

Members of the Indonesia Dance Company (IDCO) presented their amazing versatility in methods and styles, transitioning from one segment to another smoothly and almost flawlessly in the IDCO’s 2018 performance, It’s Showtime!.

The choreography is the kind expected from a professional dance company, even if it was set up only two years ago.

It’s Showtime! is the company’s third performance and features the largest number of the company’s dancers.

“Ballet is such a versatile dance technique that it can be molded with any other style of dance in the world,” said IDCO founder and ballerina Claresta Alim.

Judging by what was seen that night, the why and the how of it make sense.

In sync: Dancers from the Indonesia Dance Company (IDCO) perform It’s Showtime! at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta playhouse in Jakarta. In sync: Dancers from the Indonesia Dance Company (IDCO) perform It’s Showtime! at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta playhouse in Jakarta. (The Jakarta Post/Charisa Vanessa G)

The first act consists of several segments in the classical traditions of the Bolshoi. Dancers in sequined costumes flex their limbs gracefully to staple numbers from ballets like The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. This segment is suited to opening the show, as it demonstrates its dancers’ technical skills.

The second act is far more diverse when it comes to presentation. It is this act that presents contemporary dance styles, ranging from hip-hop to jazz dance, and even one magnificent performance of Indang, a traditional West Sumatran dance. The performers of the Indang stomped and swayed with careful abandon, fusing the strict traditions of the dance style with contemporary movements.

Maintaining the traditional was something that IDCO choreographer Jonathan Pranadjadja approached with caution, due to West Sumatran cultural rules stating that at least 75 percent of the Indang must be performed in its original manner.

In their fierce rendition of the Indang, the dancers created a beautiful intensity that intertwined tradition and contemporary dance. It was a stomping good time for all.

Following the Indang were a series of dances with concepts ranging from the fun to the absurd.

One number was a jazzy evocation and celebration of time, as the dancers used jazz movements in a ticking motion resembling a clock to perfectly symbolize the flow of time to a relatively downtempo electronic track.

Another tribute to Indonesia’s cultural traditions came from a hip-hop number that celebrated the rhythmic tribal dances of Papua.

The intensity of the traditional movements combined with the fast, rhythmic hip-hop moves made this one of the most entertaining and head-bopping fusion pieces.

Fusion: The performance is far more diverse when it comes to presentation and dance style.Fusion: The performance is far more diverse when it comes to presentation and dance style. (The Jakarta Post/Charisa Vanessa G)

The evening’s repertoire even included an operatic performance that stole the entire show. The aria, performed by a relatively new IDCO dancer, heightened the grace of an already graceful act.

Topping off the evening was an elaborate, yet spirited contemporary number, danced to the accompaniment of iconic tunes that Claresta claimed were the “most energetic music that exists”.

She has a point, because it is hard not to burst into dance upon hearing the invigorating music of British rock legends Queen.

The first segment of the dance was built around an edited version of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, with the dancers moving both in response to and in celebration of what could likely be the perfect song for modern ballet.

The dance then segued into energetic choreography danced to “I Was Born to Love You”, and then transitioned to close with the ultimate show-ender, “We Are the Champions”.

In line with her vision for the IDCO, Claresta fulfilled her wish to feature all-male dance pieces as well as a corps of mostly young dancers as part of the evening’s repertoire, which she said was created around the enthusiasm of the company’s younger and newer members.