The Jakarta Post
Gusti Ayu Ismayanti is only 17 but her dance skills, Balinese as well as contemporary, were not inferior to older workshop participants. Furthermore, the girl of Balinese descent who was born and brought up in Bandung, West Java, mingled amiably with her workshop peers.
In mid-January, a three-day dance workshop was held with Melanie Lomoff, a famous contemporary dancer from France, as facilitator at NuArt Sculpture Park, Bandung, with 19 participants from Bandung, Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Bali.
'This project has just come about naturally. It was a rather bold venture,' said Keni K. Soeriaatmadja, whose view was shared by Ratna Yulianti. Both are dancers of Bengkel Tari Ayu Bulan, a dance studio owned by Ayu Bulantrisna Djelantik.
After their previous Balinese-themed workshops under Ayu Bulan, the two dancers wished to include various other dances so as to cover dancers with other backgrounds by setting up a dance camp. July 2015 was their historic moment when the Sasikirana Dance Camp was born.
Later Sasikirana opened a five-day dance camp involving such noted Indonesian dancers as Eko Suprianto, Jecko Siompo and Melati Suryodarmo. The event was a collaboration with bamboo visual art. The camp was wound up with a collaboration dance illuminated by moonlight and lanterns amid large bamboo wickerwork arrangements.
Soon after the dance camp, Keni turned to the workshop called NuArt Dance Lab. Unlike her dance camp, which takes longer so participants have to stay, the dance lab is easier in terms of its curriculum.
'I've chosen NuArt Sculpture Park as I think it's a very favorable place for dancing because of its extensive area and many unique spots for the development of this art,' said Keni, who is also NuArt's program director. Nyoman Nuarta, as the park owner, also fully supports Keni's dance lab.
While dance camp participants are also required to learn choreography, the dance lab forum concerns the exploration of dance techniques and body movements. It's also a dialogue, discussion and showcase meeting to enrich the experience of dancers from Bandung and all parts of Indonesia.
Sasikirana's first NuArt Dance Lab took place in November by inviting a dance facilitator from Beirut who has become a citizen of Denmark, Jens Bjeregaard. The second NuArt Dance Lab was on Jan. 15 to 17 with Lomoff, in which participants explored various movements and got better acquainted with their bodies as dancers.
The three-day dance lab was very interesting, with participants practicing together and exchanging views, regardless of age, origin and previous experience. Unlike in the first workshop, dancers in the second dance lab also demonstrated their movements that were composed with Melanie's help.
As director of Sasikirana Dance Camp, Keni admitted the many ambitions she wanted to achieve. 'The blend of dance and visual art was already carried out in the first dance camp. Now we're expecting to collaborate with musicians or even to have all the three combined,' she said.
As a dancer, Keni is well aware of Bandung's as yet untapped potential. 'Bandung and West Java have many dance studios and dance colleges as well as competent dancers,' the visual arts graduate from the Bandung Institute of Technology pointed out.
However, there have been no programs yet to gather the dancers for discussions among themselves and with their foreign counterparts. In fact, through dialogues or workshops they will increase their knowledge and skills. Such meetings between junior and seasoned dancers may also lead to collaborative works.
With her dance experience and broad relations within artists' circles, Keni is convinced she will be able to realize her dreams through Sasikirana. On her way to this end, Keni expects to get lots of input from artists and participants. 'Many circles have helped make Sasikirana's programs happen in its young age, hopefully with many more activities ahead,' she added.
Certainly, young dancers like Ismayanti will have a place to further boost their talents. Under intimate and amiable workshop circumstances, various positive developments are eventually bound to occur.
' Photos by JP/Juliana Harsianti