info I contact
advertising
editorial schedule
acknowledgements
join the realtime email list
become a friend of realtime on facebook
follow realtime on twitter
donate

magazine  archive  features  rt profiler  realtimedance  mediaartarchive
back

10th Indonesian Dance Festival: Goethe Institut Regional Critic Workshop

June 14-18, 2010


 Da Contents H2

INDIGENOUS DANCE: DANA WARANARA
January 27 2016
Dana Waranara—Privilege and Responsibility
Andrea James

introduction
July 12 2010
10th indonesian dance festival: dance, future tense
keith gallasch: regional dance criticism workshop, jakarta


a dance work revived: faith restored
devi fritrai: gusmiati suid, seruan

aspiration and influence
joelle jacinto: final night idf program

beyond absence
bilquis hijjas: meg stuart & philipp gehmacher's maybe forever

borderline control
giang dang: contact gonzo

cool tensions
giang dang: s]h]elf

dancing between tradition & modernity
devi fitria: idf emerging choreographers

dancing into identity
melissa quek: idf emerging choreographers program

dancing to the threshhold
bilqis hijjas: cross over dance company, middle

July 12 2010
earth's slow death dance
melissa quek: asri mery sidowati’s merah

fighting as performance
cat ruka: contact gonzo and sayaka himeno

foreign bodies
giang dang: meg stuart & philipp gehmacher's maybe forever

from betamax to dvd
san phalla: jeckosdance, from betamax to dvd

indonesian contemporary dance: multiple personalities
melissa quek: idf closing program

into the vortex
devi fitria: asri mery sidowati’s merah

journey into light
joelle jacinto: asri mery sidowati’s merah

love and its disconnects
cat ruka: meg stuart & philipp gehmacher's maybe forever

noise in contemporary asian dance
pawit mahasarinand: darkness poomba and contact gonzo

July 12 2010
one shoe on, one shoe off
bilqis hijjas: muslimin b pranowo, the young

shaking the spectator's heart
phalla san: kim jae duk, darkness poomba

strange worlds, mutating forms
cat ruka: kim jae duk's darkness poomba

such is life, and so is love
pawit mahasarinand: meg stuart & philipp gehmacher's maybe forever

when does forever end?
joelle Jacinto: meg stuart & philipp gehmacher’s maybe forever

working the audience
melissa quek: contact gonzo & darkness poomba

 

foreign bodies

giang dang: meg stuart & philipp gehmacher's maybe forever

Giang Dang is a Hanoi-based journalist, editor and cultural activist.

Maybe Forever, Meg Stuart, Philipp Gehmacher Maybe Forever, Meg Stuart, Philipp Gehmacher
photo Chris van der Burght
"....IT COULD BE HEAVEN/ BUT IF IT'S HELL THEN YOU CAN WATCH ME BURN" (OZZY OSBOURNE, "CENTRE OF ETERNITY). MAYBE FOREVER EXPLORES A FAILED LOVE, THE SLOW BURN OF A RELATIONSHIP YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD END BUT JUST CAN’T BRING YOURSELF TO. OVER 80 MINUTES, THE WORK IS LONG, SLOW PACED AND OCCASIONALLY AS CUMBERSOME AS THE CRUMBLING RELATIONSHIP IT IS ABOUT.

Choreographed and performed by Meg Stuart and Philipp Gehmacher, the work starts in the dark, with a brooding, evocative soundscape of electronic humming and clicking. After a long while, as low, flickering light grows unnoticed, two indistinct figures are glimpsed, reclining, sleepily shifting, and then touching and pulling at each other. The dark makes reading individual moves and contact more an act of imagination than of sight. As dawn arrives, we are lured inside a crumbling love story.

Suddenly the light is bright, revealing a small structure on the left, half bed half podium, giving the space the feel of a living room-cum-club. Curtains flank a large photographic indtallation at the back, depicting a fern and two dandelions, their luminous fuzz suggesting impermanence.

Meg Stuart launches into a repetitive recital of bittersweet and melancholic thoughts about the affair. “Remember when I said I couldn’t live without you?” she asks. “I take it back.” She takes back statement after statement, once manifestations of affection and passion. Her leather jacket creakes discontently with each of her movements and, gradually, words are overtaken by arm gestures which grow more and more abstract. Throughout Maybe Forever, arm movements and gesture convey much of the communcation between the two.

Philipp Gehmacher has a nerdy manner, awkwardly stumbling through a man-boy haze. He is stiff, speechless until the very end, unable to articulate his emotions. There are moving moments, for example when he stands at the very front edge of the stage, holding his arms high above his head as if waiting to be lifted up, his face bathed in a happy light of distant memories.

Maybe Forever, Philipp Gehmacher, Niko Hafkenscheid Maybe Forever, Philipp Gehmacher, Niko Hafkenscheid
photo Eva Wordinger
The third person in the mix, singer-songwriter Niko Hafkenscheid accompanies the lovers on their journey, playing beguiling indie pop melodies on electric guitar, singing softly with a warm voice and modest manner. He seems to be the only unwounded soul in the drama, and as he suddenly speaks directly to the audience it becomes apparent that his melancholy music is never just for these lovers; their romance can’t even claim its own music.

There are moments of peace and harmony, Gehmacher sitting upright on the floor, Stuart lying down on her side, her head on his lap. Motionlessly, they listen to the singer playing the beautiful title song, watching the giant dandelions now glowing, lulling their broken hearts.

Soon the pleasure fades, and the tugging, caressing partners slip apart again. All their awkward grappling bears no fruit. In a world falling apart, bodily contact can only provide short moments of solace. Spoken texts and elusive song lyrics evoke sad obsession, futile hope mixed with painful awareness of failure: “Should we say our wishes at the same time so that we don’t hear each other?”

And as the woman tries to take everything back from the romance, and fails to do so, the music plays itself backwards, the melange of noises, voices and fragments of love songs airing an uncomfortable, frustrated longing.

In their character play of disjointed romance, the choreographers allow the work to have the time it needs. It's not only the slow, meditative pacing that's demanding for the audience, but also being witness to the agonizing and desperate disintegration of love and expectation. Maybe Forever, in it’s unhurried stillness, is scattered with broken physical exchanges manifest in gawky duets and solos, punctuated with short-lived moments of intimacy and passion. The complex movements of hands and arms caught in the ambivalence between self-protection and surrender are fascinating. These are bodies that have became foreign to each other.

At the end, the man stands alone on the stage. In loose, unskilled sentences, he acknowledges his loss and the impossibility of holding back the decay of love. He knows it’s over: "I have accepted the place I am in." All three performers are now on stage, festively dressed, she in an orange, sparkling party dress sitting next to the singer with his shiny, deep-blue jacket; the man in black suit and bright yellow shirt, standing at a distance. They have given themselves a new beginning.


10th Indonesian Dance Festival: Damaged Goods & Mumbling Fish, Maybe Forever, choreography & dance Meg Stuart, Philipp Gehmacher, live music: Niko Hafkenscheid, dramaturgy Miriam van Imschoot, lighting Jan Maertens, scenography, costumes Janina Audick, music, sound Vincent Malstaf; Graha Bhakti Budaya, Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta, June 16

Giang Dang is a Hanoi-based journalist, editor and cultural activist.

© Giang Dang; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

Back to top