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EKI Update 4.0: Singing and dancing for love

Jossa Lukman

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, November 24, 2018  /  09:33 am
EKI Update 4.0: Singing and dancing for love

Love matters: In tune with this year's theme of love, Ada Apa Dengan Sinta? deals with the many undulations of romance. (JP/Jerry Adiguna)

For its latest performance, the Eksotika Karmawibhangga Indonesia (EKI) Dance Company touches on what is arguably the most important thing the world needs — love.

The annual show, this year titled EKI Update 4.0., provides a night’s worth of dancing, singing and acting, with love at the center of this year’s theme: #WeSingWeDanceWeLove. 

EKI Dance Company president director and producer Herwindra Aiko Senosoenoto said that in these turbulent times, love brings “a different color” to society.

“There is a lot of discussion on business, the economy and politics these days, but EKI Update 4.0 reiterates the fact that discussions of love are also important, and love brought color to our lives,” Aiko said.

With approximately 95 percent of all available tickets sold for the show, which is being held at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta playhouse in Central Jakarta from Friday until Sunday, it seems that many Jakartans agree. 

Like previous EKI Update events, all of the proceeds from the ticket sales will go toward the Jakarta Disabled 
Children’s Foundation (YPAC). However, the performance does not involve the foundation’s children, owing to the more complicated routines that would not be feasible for those using wheelchairs.

Nonetheless, Aiko expressed her wish to once again collaborate with the foundation’s children in future productions.

As the show starts, it becomes quite clear that EKI Update 4.0’s routines would indeed be quite challenging for most people who are not trained dancers.

A choir by EKI Sound Machine performs a spirited mashup of Agnes Monica’s “Tak Ada Logika” (No Logic) and Cita Citata’s “Meriang” (Feverish).

Female dancers in bold red dresses perform “Tak Ada Logika” first, followed by male dancers in gray and black outfits with “Meriang”, before finally coalescing into an alternating rendition of both songs accentuated by energetic choreography that sets the mood for the show.

The second act — and the first dance routine proper — is more traditional, portraying Arjuna and Srikandi of the epic Mahabharata in a dance titled Arrow of Retaliation.

Dancers Kojack Kodrata and Nala Amrytha in the roles of Arjuna and Srikandi, respectively, move masterfully across the stage, echoing the shadows projected on the screen behind them, creating a human version of a wayang(shadow puppet) play.

The next dance, titled My Goddess, portrays a darker side of love, telling the story of a manager who hopelessly falls in love with a celebrity he is managing to the sultry tune of Christina Aguilera’s “Show Me How You Burlesque”.

A short interlude is then followed by a performance from EKI On Call — EKI’s junior dancers with a less rigorous training regime — titled Body Wreck. 

With remixes of various hip-hop songs, from Kelis’ “Milkshake” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” as the backdrop, the mostly younger dancers in metallic get-up move vigorously with a more urban-inspired routine, which is said to represent the “dynamics of millennials”.

EKI Update 4.0 also pays tribute to the late Dutch-Indonesian dancer and actor Rudy Wowor, who passed away in October. Rudy’s protégé Rusdy Rukmarata, who also serves as lead choreographer for the event, performs a dance routine titled Glass of Pride, set to the tune of Glass of Wine, which Rudy performed in the musical Gallery of Kisses in 2002.

Rusdy said Rudy had been the most influential mentor he ever had, as Rudy did not hold back from chastising him under his tutelage.

“I’m very thankful for his approach because I wouldn’t be the person that I am right now if Rudy held back whenever I slacked off back then,” Rusdy said.

Along with tributes, EKI Update 4.0 also involves collaborations with guest choreographers Josh Marcy and Gege Diaz of Jakarta Dance Meet Up fame, who have each composed a dance routine.

Josh’s Building Blocks sees dancers using blocks as props in their choreography to represent life in these fast-paced modern times that are filled with anxiety, to a backdrop of electronic music from Mura Masa and Jos Smolders.

Meanwhile, Gege’s Savage Dub marries ballet and hip-hop elements into an eclectic routine, made more prominent through a live rendition of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and Bruno Mars’ “Perm” in a mashup.

Gege’s all-male STREETPASS group and female dancers from EKI Dance Company move in sync for a breathtaking performance, which includes crowd favorites such as costume changes mid-dance and lit-up attire.

After the dancers and the audience take a 15-minute break, the main act is revealed — a mini-musical titled Ada Apa Dengan Sinta? (What’s Up With Sinta?), a play on the cult favorite movie Ada Apa Dengan Cinta?

Ada Apa Dengan Sinta? follows the eponymous Sinta, a young woman who has recently returned from her studies in the States to find herself in an arranged marriage set up by her parents in order to further their business prospects.

Sinta finds herself confused by her parents’ insistence on marrying her off to Ayang, the son of a Chinese couple who just so happen to see the benefit in marrying Ayang to Sinta for business gains as well.

Unbeknown to them, Sinta feels boxed in, as she has her own choice in romance that soon spirals into 
a love dodecahedron instead of just a love triangle.

Ada Apa Dengan Sinta? provides the audience with much of the night’s humor, spicing up the oft-repeated message of loving who you want with tunes from popular songs, but at times, it comes out a bit forced, like the token effeminate gay friend with a penchant for the latest gossip.

But if you’re looking for a show that entertains while giving a chance to do some good, EKI Update 4.0 certainly delivers, not just the love but so much more.