Dance In Preview
I'm not sure if my Mum will ever forgive me for saying this, but every now and again when I look at my family, I wish we had a more vibrant heritage, more culture.
I get the odd twinge of jealousy when learning about someone's relatives that have their own styles and traditions going back hundreds of years.
There is nowhere that you'll find such a presence of cultural heritage and contemporary style more than coming up at the Powerhouse, as it presents â€˜Tarian Baru Dari Indonesiaâ€™ - or â€˜New Dance From Indonesiaâ€™ - as part of the Brisbane Festival.
Hailing from the Minangkabau region of West Sumatra, esteemed choreographers Ery Mefri and Hartati are presenting their stunning and original dance works as a celebration of women, movement and Indonesian culture. Performing with Nan Jombang Dance Company, Ery Mefri will be presenting two new works; â€˜SangHawaâ€™ (â€˜Eveâ€™) and â€˜Rantau Berbisikâ€™ (â€˜Whisperings of Exileâ€™). With a strong focus on the matriarchal relationship that is at the heart of Minangkabau culture, these two pieces are also a balancing act of old and contemporary culture as Ery explains.
â€œAs a person who was born into a family with strong tradition, I have to deal with any difficulties by always communicating with the family on how to â€˜tameâ€™ the typical traditionalists. It feels wonderful to be able to add artistic expressions in developing the traditional culture in modern life, if it's utilised to strengthen the existence of the culture itself.â€
Hartati's latest work â€˜Di Dalam/ Di Luarâ€™ (â€˜In/ Outâ€™) is a physical exploration on the theme of regression. Three dancers are housed in glass boxes, and as they twist and move, they free themselves of their box, only to become trapped within another box in an infinitely looping cycle. This is the first time the work has been performed outside of Indonesia and for Hartati, her cultural background is at the very essence of her work.
â€œThere's no doubt that Indonesian contemporary dance is different from other countries', almost all of Indonesian contemporary dances are derived from tradition. There are actually a lot of things that are very contemporary in tradition, which are sometimes overlooked. For me, I never intentionally create my works to be contemporary. I just want to create works honestly, and of course take into account the aspect of a show performance.â€
Catch â€˜Tarian Baru Dari Indonesiaâ€™ at the Brisbane Powerhouse September 7-12.