By Ramli Ibrahim
For me, the IDF workshop recently held at Hutan Kaldera, Bogor with four mentors and 15 Indonesian dancers affiliated to IDF, was a creative experience of the first order. It was significant that the four mentors offered four completely different perspectives and methodology for dancers to approach their dance experience. Yet, the mentors spoke of and communicated the same message and objective—how to function creatively and effectively in the present contemporary and global scenario where the options are overwhelming. Yet the creative artist/dancer has to still sustain and not loose what is considered his most precious gift within—the humanity of his being and milieu and how this gift can be translated into the dance experience—be it the actual cultivation of his physical body and movement as a dancer or the content of his work as a choreographer. The dancer/choreographer has to be able to choose and follow the right track in achieving his/her objectives. Among others, these are – to be true to oneself; to experience Nature as the greatest teacher; to be discerning in one’s observation of life; to stock oneself with right knowledge so as to be able to evaluate (dramaturgy) objectively one’s creative endeavor; to look at the human body as a metaphor of the universal and cosmic experience and to cultivate the dancer’s body as the most effective instrument to express the phenomena of life and More….
A major the triumph of the workshop is that the essential objectives were achieved through the process of natural realisation. The dancers and mentors lived in a natural surrounding where classes, meals and general mixing were conducted in a congenial atmosphere. Exchanges of knowledge and ideas occurred effortlessly without fuss. The mood was receptive and the two-way exchanges between mentors and dancers were palpably strong. The mentors were more than generous to dispense with his/her knowledge and the dancers were ever keen to receive the wisdom and were pleased to show off what they have newly learnt and digested.
This was apparent in an inspiring impromptu ‘presentation’ in which the four mentors initiated the first improvisation and then subsequently this was taken over by the dancers. In this exercise, the dancers showed their command of technique, their team spirit, their sensitivities in trusting their own intuition with regard to changing creative impulses and various options of reactions to these impulses.
Excited with their inspired improv presentation just a few hours ago, the dancers decided to present their ‘last gift’ to the mentors and organizers of the workshop. It was this particular presentation that the dancers surpassed themselves and reaffirmed that the workshop had achieved its aim. Their structured improv was not only compelling but can be viewed almost as a complete work in itself (which unfortunately cannot be repeated). Most importantly, the dancers communicated that they have digested what were taught to them in the workshop. Replete with music, both improvised live (flute, voice and drum) and recorded, the dancers showed off their spectacular talents in various indigenous dance forms and ability to direct their improv in a sensitive, intelligent and effective manner.
As mentioned, the IDF was a special experience for me. Not only was I able to meet the three outstanding mentors – Pak Suprapto Suryodarmo, Su Wen-Chi and Benny Krisnawardi – but I was touched by the dedication and integrity of the directors in the form of Ibu Maria Darmaningsih and Nungki and organisers – Helly, Yessy, Rahmah, Sam and others, too many to mention.
Thank you, IDF!
Sutra Foundation, Malaysia
Ramli Ibrahim was invited to be one of four mentors at a week workshop for young dancers organised by Indonesian Dance Festival (IDF), 1-7 May 2016 in Kaldera, Bogor (West Java)