LABOR-ART-ORIUM

At 7:20 p.m. on Thursday night, I arrived to re-register at the entrance of Teater Kecil, Taman
Ismail Marzuki. Equipped with a piece of paper containing information about the performers,
I entered the theatre and was free to choose a seat except for the two rows especially reserved
for the VIP guests. The event entitled LABOR-ART-ORIUM 2019 was held by Dance Circle
Lab and Urban Art Forum. The performance is intended as a stage for public testing of the
concept or form of works being developed by four choreographers who are finalizing their
work – as written on the introduction paper of the event. The show began at 7:45 p.m. and
was opened by Reba Aryadi who explained the purpose and what underlie LABOR-ART-
ORIUM. It was also stated that three of the four choreographers who showcased their work
that night were starting and completing their studies; while the fourth choreographer, Yola
Yulfianti, is a lecturer at the Postgraduate Program of the Jakarta Arts Institute. When the
host was still speaking to us, a dancer came on the stage and the host immediately joined as
one of the performers. A short piece by Gigi Art of Dance, choreographed by Reba Aryadi
with two dancers commenced the LABOR-ART-ORIUM that night. This work illustrates the
situation of choreography in the making and the exploration of motions. The scenes were
very verbally presented where one of the dancers made a series of moves from imaginary
lines and Reba as the choreographer approached the dancers and communicated what he
wanted.

 

a work in progress (Gigi Art of Dance) | Foto: Dody Alin

 

a work in progress (Nur Hasanah) | Foto: Dody Alin

 

Then came Irfan Setiawan, a solo dancer in the work of Nur Hasanah. Wearing a shirt, pants
made of fabric and shoes, Irfan was presented in the spotlight only illuminating the figure of
the soloist. In contradiction of his seemingly formal clothes, Irfan looked relaxed and in
control of the stage. He commenced with exploration of body spaces. Spaces formed by the
body and the space outside of the body seemed to be a locus of this work. With a dynamic
intensity and tempo, this yet untitled work in progress captivates and amazes me due to the
maturity of the solo performer, on how he controls his internal and external space and is able
to create a dynamic atmosphere to the point that the work does not seem monotonous. The
female artist known as Hassan has just started to continue her study as a postgraduate at IKJ.
However, she is not a new player in the world of contemporary dance in Indonesia. As a
choreographer, several of her works have been performed in various cities in Indonesia,
including at the Indonesian Dance Festival, whereas as a dancer, she has had years of
experiences performing in other people’s choreographies.

a work in progress (Josh Marcy) | Foto: Dody Alin

 

The following performance is the work of Josh Marcy, a work that is inclined to a research of
motion in dance that is presented in a very communicative and descriptive manner, as such a
result of research. Accompanied by Alisa Soelaeman as his dancer, Josh explained to the
audience that what he wanted to convey was the efforts to have body precisions to focus and
transfer energy from various points of the body, from internal to external. His explanation
was so systematic to the point that his session felt like a TED talks. After explaining the
choreographic tool in his research and demonstrating it with Alisa, Josh ended his work by
showcasing a short choreography in which he included his research findings into the
choreography, accompanied by an easy listening pop song.

 

A(ke)Z (Daniel Espe) | Foto: Dody Alin

 

After a light and a mind opener session, Daniel Espe was present to perform a solo
performance in his work “A(ke)Z”. The ambience at the LABOR-ART-ORIUM became dim,
and Daniel’s presence was accompanied by intense emotions and energy that were able to
change the ambience of Theater Kecil that evening. Wearing a relaxed red shirt, he started his
choreography from a lying position and afterward looking like he was trying to stand up. If
the two previous works exposed choreographic tool, Daniel’s work emphasized its
storytelling. At some moments, Daniel explored with shoes and clothes. This exploration is
also a part of the work’s narrative. Daniel Espe is a dancer ad choreographer who had studied
at the Universitas Negeri Jakarta and is now a postgraduate student at the Institut Kesenian
Jakarta. As a closing and the peak of the event, the untitled work by Yola Yulfianti, became the
closure of the series of performances. In this work, Yola uses an umbrella as a property,
sounds of the rain, singing, and readings of several dialogues from the novel “Hujan Bulan
Juni” by Sapardi Djoko Damono. This work was performed by Densiel Lebang, Mentari
Aisha, Josh Marcy, Irfan Setiawan, Alisa Soelaeman, Fitri Anggraini and Reba Aryadi as the
dancers; and Amir, Agata Megumi and Fachrizal Mochseen as the actors. In addition, this
work also involved musician Arham Aryadi and visual artist Kelvin Yohanes. This work
displays the heated political turmoil in Indonesia through news snippets airing on the screen,
in contrast to the melancholic sound of music.

 

a work in progress (Yola Yulfianti) | Foto: Dody Alin

Finally, we come to the session that is just as important as the series of dance performances,
which is the open discussion with the audiences. From four works that were showcased, the
exploration of Josh Marcy is the most open for a discussion because he explained his method
of research in a very straightforward way, to the point that the general public can understand

and in fact, were stimulated to discuss further. Whereas the other three choreographers, even
though the works were still a work in progress, it seemed as though the process were
completed and done with, resulting in discussions that would only be available to dance
practitioners. However, the moderator asked the three other choreographers to explain about
their works to be able to provoke discussion with the audiences.

In general, LABOR-ART-ORIUM contributed to the development of the dance scene in
Indonesia, specifically in Jakarta. It is time to invite the general public to enjoy the arts scene
that has long been exclusive and “unreachable for the normal minds”. The art itself is not a
banality, but can be developed from everyday things. How Josh explained about the energy
transfer from one body point to another, for example, can be objectively done by anyone,
even though the sensitivity towards the energy transfer and the potentials of the body points
might not be as sensible as those of dancers. The very unfortunate aspect about LABOR-
ART-ORIUM is the fact that there was one audience who kept on talking through the whole
performances with a very loud voice. The rest of the audiences and myself were hoping that
the organizers would be able to quickly handle such matters as it was very disturbing. Apart
from that, this event presented something that was very much needed by both art practitioners
and the general public. LABOR-ART-ORIUM that were meant for the public to be able to
appreciate the process behind a dance work, were able to reach something beyond that, as it
brought the art to a whole new point.
Keisha Aozora
Student of Postgraduate STF and Dance Lover