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‘Hommage à Farida Oetoyo’ commemorates birthday of legendary ballerina

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Mon, July 8, 2019  /  04:32 pm
‘Hommage à Farida Oetoyo’ commemorates birthday of legendary ballerina

Davit Fitrik when dancing 'Urip Iku Urup' with music by Ananda Sukarlan and choreography by Chendra Panatan at 'Hommage a Farida Oetoyo’ on July 7 at Raffles Jakarta Hotel in South Jakarta. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

Ballerina and choreographer Farida Oetoyo is known as the legend of Indonesian ballet. Born in 1939, Farida, or tante (aunt) Fari according to her pupils, received a scholarship at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Russia in 1961 and graduated cum laude.

In 1959, she cofounded Nritya Sundara ballet school with dancer Yulianti Parani. The school’s name was changed to Sumber Cipta in 1976 and is located in Pondok Pinang, South Jakarta.

Farida, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 75, consistently implemented Indonesian culture into her works, including TOK and Perjalanan 20 Detik (20-second journey).

Pianist Ananda Sukarlan performs several of his songs during 'Hommage a Farida Oetoyo’, among them are 'Airport Blues', 'Lonely Child' and 'Urip Iku Urup'.Pianist Ananda Sukarlan performs several of his songs during 'Hommage a Farida Oetoyo’, among them are 'Airport Blues', 'Lonely Child' and 'Urip Iku Urup'. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

In honoring the premier ballerina, Ananda Sukarlan Center for Music & Dance held Hommage à Farida Oetoyo on Sunday, July 7, at Raffles Jakarta hotel in South Jakarta. The event was also held to commemorate Farida’s 80th birthday that fell on the same day.

Combining ballet with performance by pianist Ananda Sukarlan, Hommage à Farida Oetoyo featured Indonesian talented ballet dancers from different schools, namely Agnes Indira Mayrani, Nadia Mulyono and Ari Prajanegara from Marlupi Dance Academy, Jemima Vaya from Speranza Dance Studio, Shalama Qowlam Fadila from The Ballet Academy at Casagaya, Ann Bella Yo from Ballet Sumber Cipta and Davit Fitrik from School of Movement dance academy.

Read also: Millennials in search of Indonesian ballet

TOK, one of Farida’s famous works, was staged during the event. Debuted in 1985, TOK received an award from International Festival in Koln, Germany, in 1986. Composer Slamet Abdul Sjukur made the original music and later reworked by Aksan Sjuman, Farida’s son with late director Sjumandjaja.  

“For me, TOK is phenomenal,” said Chendra Panatan, choreographer and one of Farida’s pupils since 1987, during press conference on the same day. “It has opened people’s eyes that tradition can be implemented in ballet.”

TOK was danced by Ann Bella Yo and Davit Fitrik that day. Though both were wearing wooden masks that covered their whole faces, the audience still could sense their emotions. TOK presents story about betrayal, where a relationship between two people is ruined by a third party.

Ann Bella Yo (left) and Davit Fitrik when performing 'TOK' that was choreographed by the late Farida Oetoyo and composed by Aksan Sjuman.Ann Bella Yo (left) and Davit Fitrik when performing 'TOK' that was choreographed by the late Farida Oetoyo and composed by Aksan Sjuman. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

“Every lesson with tante Fari was amazing,” Bella, who had been trained by Farida since 1990, said. “She’s always able to see someone’s potential, even if that person doesn’t think that way. I’ve learned a lot from her.”

Hommage à Farida Oetoyo also presented ballet performances based on Ananda Sukarlan’s songs, namely “Lonely Child” that was choreographed by Jetty Maika, “Mini Rondo” with choreography made by Fifi Sijangga and “Airport Blues” as well as “Urip Iku Urup” that was choreographed by Chendra Panatan.

In “Airport Blues”, Chendra wanted to express the feelings of being left behind by the loved one or waiting for someone at the airport.

Meanwhile, in “Urip Iku Urup”, he wanted the dance to display how a human can be the light for other people. “I think it really describes ibu Fari as my mentor. I feel she’s like the light that shines upon my life until now,” Chendra said. (mut)

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