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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

 

borderline control

giang dang: contact gonzo

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

contact Gonzo, Public Space contact Gonzo, Public Space
photo Phalla San
THE STREET FIGHT BUILDS SLOWLY. TWO YOUNG MEN IN STREET CLOTHES SLOWLY GROW AGITATED, PUSHING EACH OTHER, MOVING IN CIRCLES, EACH AGGRESSIVELY EYEING THEIR FIGHT PARTNER, BUMPING, STAYING GLUED TOGETHER FOR LONG PERIODS LIKE WRESTLERS. SOON TWO MORE MEN ENTER THE ARENA, AND WHAT STARTED LIKE A HARMLESS GAME—LIKE KIDS HANGING AROUND A TRAIN STATION, MEASURING THEIR STRENGTH OUT OF BOREDOM—HAS MOVED ONTO THE EDGE OF A REAL CONFRONTATION WHICH COULD GET OUT OF CONTROL AT ANY MOMENT.

The afternoon street performance by contact Gonzo provided a remarkable un-official opening for the 10th Indonesian Dance Festival. It caught me completely off guard. Expecting something of a hip-hop or breakdance show on the street, which might be even fused with a dose of traditional dance—the kind of thing offered later in the evening program just before the politicians delivered their opening speeches—I was hit by surprise.

The men move in and out of the fight, the physical intensity rising and ebbing with heavy breathing, water drinking, resting and watching followed and heightened by punching, slapping and wrestling. As the male fight continues, the 'Greek' chorus is a solo percussionist, aptly enough, a woman. Her intense drumming somehow gives the riot a dramatic element, turning it into a coherent struggle.

Contact Gonzo is a Japanase performance group that has been slowly gaining international attention. Before forming the group in 2006 and inventing the performing method of the same name, their members had been doing inspiring things like rolling down hills, catching falling leaves or jumping from the tops of telephone booths. With Gonzo meaning “bizarre, unconventional or extreme”, the performers transformed the technique of “contact improvisation”, incorporating the bumping of soccer, Sumo-inspired wrestling and a little known Russian martial-art called Systema with the ordinary kicks and punches and hits and spits from the street. Each performance is completely improvised, if with a few rules about what’s allowed and what’s not. There seemed to be some hidden communication or timing pre-arrangement with the drummer since without eye contact, she was in synch with the building up to and ending of the climaxes.

contact Gonzo, Public Space contact Gonzo, Public Space
photo Phalla San
Some of the most beautiful moments occur when all four performers pile up on each other like a rugby scrum, frenetically interacting, agonizing, scanning the situation and making decisions about the next move in split seconds. The acting is so realistic that it reminded me of sessions of male bonding, most recently seen in the movie The Hurt Locker: violent, macho men horseplaying until emotions get out of hand and the unexpected happens. Meanwhile, the drummer is absorbed in her playing, working madly on her set, turning out sheets of sounds, which provide almost a physical stage for the men.

Contact Gonzo blurrs a few lines. Is it a staged show or does the aggression become real as the show progresses? In the middle of the tumult, somebody at the bottom of the pile grabs a disposable camera and shoots the performance. Here the artists criss-cross the delicate line between absorption and reflection. And are the audience mere spectators? Sometimes the turbulence moves dangeroursly close to the watching crowd. At one point, one performer falls at the feet of a group of street kids, who instantly take charge, grab the plastic camera and shoot.

The speed and rawness of contact Gonzo takes one’s breath away. As the performance comes to its end and the men rise to their feet and the drummer relaxes, I feel like I'm being released from an intense concentration, the kind you normally have when anticipating the unexpected.


10th Indonesian Dance Festival: contact Gonzo and Sayaka Himeno, public space, Graha Bhakti Sudaya, Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta, June 14

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

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

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