In Painan West Sumatra, Indonesia

This is the wife of Bapak (father a polite term to address an older person) Amlis whos is a maestro of the Rantak Kudo dance. It involves rituals and elements of martial arts.

The above picture shows Ibu (mother) Amlis cooking with fire wood. Their house is very simple and is categorised as Rumah Miskin or economically challenged house hold.

How ever as you can see in the picture, Ibu can still smile and happy to recieve visitors which they have time to time to consult and enquire about the continuation of the Rantak Kudo performances.

Here is Bapak Amlis with my friend and guide Zulva Eva, when we visited the maestro in 2017.


Conversations with Arison Ibnur on Choreographing based on traditions

Prolific choreographies of Minangkabau and Malay traditions

This discussion is with Arison Ibnur or more known as Tom Ibnur. Tom Ibnur is well known in Indonesia for his dance works based on Minangkabau and Malay traditions. This dialogue was conducted after his choreography class at the Jakarta Institute of Arts (IKJ) that finished at 9 pm at the cultural center Taman Ismail Marzuki. He is also the lecturer and teacher for Minangkabau dance traditions originating from West Sumatra in Indonesia and also teaches choreography at for the Dance Program at the Faculty of Performing Arts IKJ. This conversation contains his view and experience on creating dance.

On being a choreographer
“Sometimes we as choreographers must make everything ourselves even the songs. That traditions give inspirations that is true. But there is also something that comes from inside of ourself that if someone else makes it (the other elements for the dance), it wont fit the idea. Ideas are not just the dance but means also the background, there is suffering, there is experience.

When I wear a womans costume (for performance) it is no problemfor the audience. It is needed for depth of feeling. The feeling of a child that can feel the sufferings of the mother in her problems with the father.

Everything will shift to the mother.

In the old times, widows are always spoken of in negative ways so…then my Mak (mother) stayed at home selling (household items)”(the suffering of his mother was part of his choreography in the production titled Padusi (woman).

On training to become a choreographer

“Perhaps because I have academic an background so I learned also  choreography making, but the direction of my choreography which I studied is more to the strengths of tradition. This direction is how the strengths in the traditions can become something new. Why  new? This kind of thinking comes from my having an academic background. A traditional artist would give what just is the tradition. That is because that would be his or her dance dance from wherever place they came from. But I am different, because there are other knowledges that I have studied then that tradition can become other branches, many other branches into so many possibilities.

So in class or workshops it this thinking that I can give. People can take up anything from wherever they are at the moment and use it as material. So people in creating will be neither Minangkabau or Malay, they will become another choreography.

My views will probably be different from Wiwiek Sipala for example (his colleague and fellow lecturer for choreography class with a Sulawesi background) or others. Every choreographer has their own view…isn’t that so?
So in my way of thinking is on how we can rise the strength of tradition into becoming a new knowledge for choreographing.”

How is the difference of the process of choreography of someone with a traditional background and someone who has knowledge or training for choreography that comes from the western education. Is there a difference? If there is where is the difference?

“this is my view; if I teach two or three students in class, I would not give them the academic view that I studied. I would give them the direction to turn towards the traditions because that would be their strength. Thus everyone can access the knowledge that I can give, for anyone that is open that is, so…

But if there is something more specific needed, say traditional such as nowadays (meaning the existing traditions), then it is needed for a deeper delving into the world of tradition such as what I have done myself.

It isn’t that we are not capable of creating modern choreographies, but in the direction that I am speaking of is we should return to the traditions, the real traditions and on developing them. (In teaching choreography) I would give my knowledge from what I have experienced from traditions. I feel that that would be stronger, so people would understand, understand or this understanding (of tradition) is quite difficult and even harder to convey this understanding. But with help,  from our cleverness obtained from choreography knowledge through academic training, it would be easier. Because the true traditions if presented as such, it would be difficult to be understood by audiences nowadays.

But the traditions inside of me as the base to make traditional dances, gives boundaries and limitations of movements, limitations of space, spaces that are symetrical so forth.

The traditions go in that kind of (limited) direction.

Perhaps then I would give the second knowledge of creativity as an understanding of modern approach. This approach makes the symetrical become asymetrical, or uses contrast. Tradition is usually not like that but tends to be linear.”

What if the students are from the city?

“Well if the students are from the city, that also depends. Sometimes the students who grew up in cities also want to understand the traditions. That comes from their boredom with the city, it can happen. But their are of course people that are happy with their cities experience, their urban life and so on. Well,…they can also be guided,I mix it with new knowledges of traditions. I am flexible really. But the direction in current times is the returning to look at traditions.”

Is there a difference between dancers that have a city body or a traditional body?

“Well the anatomy is the same, technique of course is the main achievement but the product is different and the result in expression id different. Example, someone with a strong traditional experience would not be over expressive in movement. But someone from the city…sometimes how they explore is usually over expressive. Being over expressive comes from being already familiar with practices and habits coming from learned bodily exercises that overwhelms the traditional person. But this does not mean that it can be considered or viewed as a deficiency or negativity in traditional people, sometimes this over expressing can’t be done by city folk either.”

Oral Tradition Journal
Ruth Finnegan (1992)wrote on oral traditions, that:

“In the context of oral history Finnegan defines oral tradition as strictly speaking…those recollections of the past that are commonly or universally known in a given culture…[and] have been handed down for at least a few generations’

‘Oral tradition’ sometimes means any kind
of unwritten tradition (including physical monuments, religious statues or church frescoes), sometimes only tradition(s) enunciated or transmitted through words (thus excluding and contrasting with the previous examples)

Particular emphasis is laid on the recent interdisciplinary work
on performance, on the processes involved in the creation and analysis of texts, and on related ethical issues

the kinds of topics discussed are relevant to current anthropological work on, for example, memory, the
emotions, artistic expression and individual creativity


Finnegan, Ruth.1992.Oral Traditions and the Verbal Arts, a Guide to Research Practices, ASA Research Methods, Anthony Good (ed)Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2005,USA and Canada by Routledge

Technology and dance

How dance has advanced so much in using technology. In Indonesia there is still a scarcity of scholars able to use the classic Laban sytem and only a handful recently becoming reaware of the dance  film genre. Recently the dance film genre has become a new interest for choreographers  in Indonesia. Also a recent collaboration between the Japan Foundation and  the Faculty of Performing Arts Dance Department at the Jakarta Institute for the Arts presented the work of a Japanese choreographer  from the group Nibrol, performed by the dance department and alumni using  video mapping in this artistic work.

Kerjasama Japan Foundation dan Program Studi Tari, Fakultas Seni Pertunjukan,  Institut Kesenian Jakarta,


Pada tanggal 30 Maret 2017 di venue kampus IKJ Teater Luwes, telah terselenggara pertunjukan Nibroll yang merupakan karya kolaborasi seniman Jepang  dengan Program Studi  Tari IKJ. Karya yang dipentaskan berjudul   “Real Reality” merupakan sebuah upaya untuk mempromosikan pemahaman dan  fokus baru kepada negara-negara Asia, sebagaimana disampaikan perwakilan dari Japan Foundation  Daisuke Kato.


Ibu Malona Sri Repelita Wadek Bidang Kerjasama FSP IKJ, menyampaikan dalam sambutannya, bahwa ide pertunjukan Nibroll menggunakan videomapping, yang telah berkembang dalam global culture dan technology. Karya yang disajikan malam itu di Teater Luwes adalah hasil workshop yang berlangsung selama 5 hari-25 Jam di Studio C Gedung FSP. Peserta workshop terdiri dari mahasiswa dan alumni  prodi Tari dan FFTV, dan merupakan peristiwa pertama kali dipentaskan oleh penari yang bukan anggota Nibroll. Sambutan sang Koreografer Mikuni Yanaihara sebagai  perwakilan dari Nibroll menyampaikan bahwa mereka biasanya bekerja dengan seniman profesional. Selanjutnya Mikuni menyatakan bahwa, “ Workshop koreografi yang diikuti 9 mahasiswa tari IKJ memperlihatkan bahwa masing-masing memiliki personality unik dan ternyata mampu membuat karya saya menarik.”


Karya dengan judul “Real Reality” menyampaikan suatu refleksi mengenai apa yang nyata serta  batas antara hidup dan mati. Adegan yang digarap berangkat dari gagasan memory dan mempertanyakan mana memory yang nyata (real) dan mana yang merupakan ilusi. Harapan sang koreografer adalah penonton dapat mencari makna dari apa yang real dan tidak real, mana yang memory real dan mana memory bukan real.


Rangkaian adegan Real Reality


Enam layar putih membentang sebagai latar. Sembilan penari masuk, berlari mengenakan baju putih hitam. Di layar terlihat ada bayang-bayang berkelebat. Interaksi penari dan bayang-bayang terjadi sebagai dialog aksi reaksi. Penari berlari dan bergerak seolah menabrak layar dan bayang-bayang  muncul bagai asap dari tepukan penari.  Kesembilan penari tersebut kemudian menjatuhkan tubuhnya dan diam memberi kesan  pingsan, lalu  satu penari berdiri pelan. Di latar layar muncul visual animasi suicide yang menampilkan gambar seorang remaja menggantung diri. Kata-kata menggema “I really don’t know anyone, I have no words, I have no memory” terdengar repetitif mengukir sayat-sayat rasa mengiringi gambar animasi. Visual dari remaja-remaja yang menggantung diri semakin banyak memenuhi layar-layar hingga ke semua ruang dinding dan lantai pertunjukan.. Visual yang memenuhi ruangan pentas disorot ke layar-layar juga ke dinding-dinding dan kata-kata sembilu berkelindan dengan rasa nyeri. “I cant forget, I can’t remember, thats all, I really don’t know anything”


Musik berubah menjadi denting piano sedang  di layar gambar remaja menggantung diri bermetamorfosis menjadi digital clock. Satu penari bangun lalu bergerak mengguncang bangunkan temannya yang pingsan. Animasi kemudian berubah menjadi garis-garis cahaya seperti riak air. Para penari berdiri, jatuh, berdiri dan jatuh berulang kali. Di layar animasi warna menjadi biru, merah lalu berubah kembali menjadi lautan angka yang kemudian menghilang.Visual berkembang menjadi ranting-ranting pohon kering yang lalu tumbuh  membesar berwarna putih, hitam, merah, hitam. Visual ini bertransformasi menjadi animasi lautan benda-benda keseharian.


Adegan berpasangan menampilkan dialog tubuh antara Fitri dan Irfan. Sambil bergerak dan berinteraksi layaknya perasaan menggelora sepasang remaja, mereka berdua menari sambil menegaskan kata “yes!”, “no!” Ketika mereka menarikan gerakan seperti  menelpon, di layar belakang visual serpihan salju-salju  bergerak terus mendorong arus yang membuat penari melompat dan langsung menjatuhkan tubuh. Penari Pane dan Ega kemudian juga membawakan sequen berpasangan. Setelah adegan pax de deux,  masuk penari-penari lain menari sambil menghamburkan kain-kain berwarna putih. Penari-penari tersebut meneriakkan jeritan-jeritan dengan gaya masing-masing lalu menjatuhkan diri. Tinggal Ega dan Pane yang terus menerus meneriakkan kata “Yes!”, “No!”.


Di antara tubuh-tubuh yang bergelimpangan, satu penari berdiri dan bervibrasi dengan tubuh bergetar-getar melayang. Musik berubah menjadi vokal opera. Adegan ini  dilatari  visual peristiwa perkotaan Jakarta; traffic, gedung bertingkat, tukang sapu, kaum miskin kota yang kemudian melebur menjadi sebuah visual distorsi. Penari-penari pelan-pelan melipat kain-kainnya dan mengumpulkan kain-kain tersebut dan menumpuknya dengan rapih. Di layar juga tampil sekelebat visual tarian Papua. Penari kemudian bertepuk tangan, berirama saling mengisi. Tempo tepukan mengiringi penari bergerak mengekspresikan gerakan-gerakan tarian tradisi. Di layar visual berubah menjadi warna seperti garis yang rusak. Musik berubah menjadi bunyi perkotaan, layar-layar didorong penari pindah-pindah mengisi ruang panggung. Ending yang menutup pertunjukan mengusung keheningan yang diselingi keindahan bunyi air menetes. Visual garis warna yang menjadi satu warna melintasi enam  layar. Cahaya menghilang berubah menjadi bayang-bayang dan panggung gelap.


Sebuah pertunjukan kolaborasi luar biasa dan membanggakan bahwa mahasiswa IKJ dalam waktu singkat dapat mempelajari dan membawakan karya Nibroll dengan mengesankan.  Kelompok tari Nobroll didirikan tahun 1997 didirikan oleh Mikuni Yanaihara seorang Professor spesialis Performing Arts di Fakultas Sastra, Seni dan Budaya Kindai. Yanaihara telah menampilkan banyak pementasan di luar Jepang melebarkan aktifitasnya ke negara-negara Asia beberapa tahun ini. Tahun 2015 ia terpilih sebagai Utusan Budaya Jepang oleh Badan Nasional Utusan Budaya Jepang serta melakukan penelitian terkait tari dan teater di 6 Negara Asia Tenggara.


Japan Foundation didirikan pada bulan Oktober 1972 merupakan satu-satunya lembaga Jepang yang berdedikasi untuk mendukung petukaran budaya Internasional secara komprehensif di seluruh dunia, dan bertujuan untuk meningkatkan dan mempererat persahabatan antara Jepang dan dunia melalui budaya, bahasa, dan dialog, the Japan Foundation menciptakan kesempatan global untuk mengembangkan persahabatan, kepercayaan, dan kesepahaman. (MPI)


Choreographer/Direction: Mikuni Yanaihara

Video Projection/Lighting: Keisuke Takahashi

Music: SKANK

Assistant Choreograph: Fumiko Ishigaki

Production: precog

Ketua Program Studi Tari: Ery Ekawati

Project Officer: Hanny Herlina

Dancer    : Dwi Maharani Pane

         Fitri Anggraini

  1. Anugrah Sepdiansyah

         Irfan Setiawan

         Rayi Utaminingrum

         Korinta Cyntia Delfi

         Sylvi Dwinda Aurelia

         Putri Ayu Wulandira Handayani

        Ciota Inkani Tarigan
Produced by Nibroll, Institut Kesenian Jakarta, Supported by Arts Council Tokyo, Japan Foundation



Me, dancing

This a doodle of mine to pass the time. To relax and give renewed breath to a forgotten hobby. I remember now my school books full of similar scribbles. I have no idea where they vanished. Perhaps they were scattered by the wind after being turned into ash by the fire that burned my house down to the ground. I also do not no why I stopped….or even why I forgot……myself. Perhaps life ….was the reason.

I stopped scribbling drawings….I stopped dancing….I stopped being artistic….Perhaps this is a sign for me to start again.

Call for papers: Chinese Diaspora and the Contemporary Rise of China: Migration, Settlement and Transnational Networks

Call for papers reblog ASSRN

Asian Australian Studies Research Network (AASRN)

2018-03-07 15_30_16-International Society for the Study of Chinese Overseas (ISSCO) 2018 - Oceania RInternational Society for the Study of Chinese Overseas 2018 – Oceania Regional Conference

The University of Melbourne | 25th-26th October 2018

The rapid rise of China as a major global, economic and political power in recent decades has transformed patterns of Chinese international migration, settlement and diaspora linkages. The effects of these changes are particularly apparent in the Pacific Rim region, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, and Pacific Island nations.

The 2018 ISSCO conference seeks to explore and discuss the causes, processes, and consequences of Chinese migration from mainland China and other sources including re-migration from Southeast Asia and the rest of the world.

While proposals that focus on Oceania and the Pacific Rim region are especially welcome, the convenors also encourage proposals that address contemporary issues relating to Chinese international migration, settlement and transnational networks in Asia, Europe, Africa and other parts of the world.


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Dragon Tails 2017 conference – Program & Registration now available

Asian Australian Studies Research Network (AASRN)

dragon tailsThe draft program for the Dragon Tails 2017: Hopes, Dreams and Realities, a conference on Chinese diaspora history and heritage, is now available online.

The conference will be held at the Golden Dragon Museum, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, from Thursday 23 November to Sunday 26 November 2017.

You can view the draft program, and register online, at:

Early bird registration is available up until Sunday 5 November 2017, 11pm.

If you are a speaker who is a post-graduate student, you are eligible for a bursary which includes free registration and a small travel subsidy. Please contact us to arrange this for you.

We have been delighted by the range and depth of the papers offered for the conference, and look forward to an exciting and stimulating four days in Bendigo.

Professor Madeline Y. Hsu from the University of Texas (Austin), will be keynote speaker. Professor Hsu served as Director of…

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