The Jakarta Post
For many youths in Jakarta, the two options for after-school and weekend activities are study or sport. But a small community of young creatives is encouraging the city's youth to explore the performing arts amid the growing popularity of music, dance and drama.
As Broadway and West-End inspired musicals increase in popularity in Indonesia, more young people in the capital are eager for a chance to participate.
One organization helping them do just that is The Jakarta Movement of Inspiration, a creative arts movement established by young performer and producer Nurul 'Nuya' Susantono in 2013.
'My concern was that there were not many platforms for young people with creative ideas or an interest in performing arts to actually pursue a career in that field in Indonesia,' Nuya explains.
'We thought, well, why not create a movement that encourages that spirit, to sort of bring the Indonesian creative scene somewhere better.'
The Jakarta Movement of Inspiration (JKTMOVEIN) inspires young people to explore the performing arts through an annual original musical production. In 2014, the original musical Gemuruh (Thunderous) was performed before an audience of thousands, while the 2015 Musikal Sekolahan (School Musical) was similarly successful. But the most interesting numbers pertain not to the visitors, but the participants ' proving that there is a huge amount of interest in the performing arts across Indonesia.
JKTMOVEIN so far received 2,279 applications from 15-23-years-olds eager to participate in their musicals. More than 200 young people are involved in the production every year as performers, writers, musicians, stagehands and everything in between.
It forms a strong community, where young people are encouraged to be themselves, celebrate their diversity and explore their passions.
'The sense of community is really strong, especially during rehearsals, when you sing and dance together most days of the week. It's a really cool experience,' Nuya says.
'It sort of encourages the youth to be pioneers ['¦] spreading courage out there to follow your passion.'
While the community is thriving, it is still small, and Nuya says a few barriers need to be knocked down before modern performing arts are widely accepted in Indonesia.
'Access to information about performing arts isn't really here, because there is no formal institution teaching it. There are no performing arts courses in Indonesia right now. Some people don't actually know what performing arts refers to, they just think it is singing and dancing, not what we're doing with musical theater. There's just not much information about it, because it didn't originate in Asia.'
'And I guess there is that Asian stereotype of parents wanting their children to become doctors and engineers. That certainly still exists, but it's getting better and better, especially for my generation. Parents are starting to open up to new opportunities and understanding that it's beneficial for their children [to be involved in performing arts].'
JKTMOVEIN is already working towards eliminating other barriers and stereotypes, primarily that musical theater and modern performing arts distract from preserving traditional Indonesian art forms.
'I know that a lot of seniors would encourage us to preserve our own performing arts, and [not focus on] western influences, like Broadway and West-End. I mean we have our own heritage that we don't want to see disappear either,' Nuya says.
'In Gemuruh, we mixed the musical theater format with a very tribal but very Indonesian-influenced theme. There were a lot of moves that we took from traditional Indonesian dances. We did use a lot of traditional patterns for our costumes as well. We incorporated some Indonesian heritage, but we did something new with it. And that is sort of us saying that we're not just adopting western culture as it is, we're turning it into our own thing.'
This year, JKTMOVEIN is helping others develop their own creative needs and talent and hoping to branch out into other art forms, with film and social media campaigns on the cards.
But promoting the benefits of performing arts and self-expression through art remains the most important thing to Nuya and the team at JKTMOVEIN.
'[Art] is one of the most effective teachers and educational tools. The arts, performing arts and creativity can enhance and compliment education,' Nuya says.
'I would say that storytelling in general, whatever the art form, helps you understand yourself and society as well. For me, it is not just physical ' it's spiritual as well, and it increases emotional intelligence. What I'd like to pass on to my actors and talents is that they should be conscious of the growth of their emotional intelligence as they pursue their arts.'
More information on The Jakarta Movement of Inspiration at www.jktmovein.com.
The writer is an intern at The Jakarta Post
' Photos courtesy of the Jakarta Movement of Inspiration
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