FUSE is a bi-annual publication that documents the projects at Dance Nucleus .

FUSE is a bi-annual publication that documents the projects at Dance Nucleus .


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FUSE # 2<br />

Produced by Dance Nucleus 2018<br />

© Dance Nucleus<br />

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any<br />

form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photography,<br />

recording or information storage or revival) without permission in writing<br />

from the copyright owner.

Table of<br />

Contents<br />

1<br />

3<br />

85<br />

117<br />

Foreword<br />

Element #2 “BAHASA KOREOGRAFI”<br />

7 Overview of Bahasa Koreografi by Alfian Sa’at<br />

15<br />

(Practice of) Silat Duduk: Investigating the<br />

Malay(ness) within Bahasa Koreografi by Helly Minarti<br />

31 A Records of My Experiences by Ayu Permata Sari<br />

43 Body Archive by Fauzi Amirudin<br />

53 The Lenggang as Entry into Cross-Gender<br />

Performance Research and Practice<br />

by Soultari Amin Fari<br />

69 What is the point of me? by Norhaizad Adam<br />

SCOPE #3<br />

87 About ‘Unison’ by Ming Poon<br />

93 La Mariposa Borracha -The process<br />

by Shanice Stanislaus<br />

103 There Is Speficifisfety – The Work As Scribed Text.<br />

by Lee Munwai<br />

109 Notes on There is Speficifisfety by Lee Ren Xin<br />

About Dance Nucleus

Foreword<br />

Developments at Dance Nucleus continues apace in the<br />

second half of this year. As we gradually establish our<br />

operational SOPs*, we turn our attention towards<br />

fostering artistic exchanges with partners and artists<br />

from the region.<br />

Pat Toh’s The Map has been a great example of what we<br />

are trying to build at Dance Nucleus. The Indonesian<br />

Dance Festival included her as one of their showcased<br />

artists this year. In August, Pat attended a 3-week<br />

residency in Jakarta, and gave a presentation at the<br />

festival in November.<br />

After their ELEMENT residency at Dance Nucleus, during<br />

which they worked with Mandeep Raikhy as guest<br />

mentor, Mandeep invited Chloe Chotrani and Bernice<br />

Lee to continue their creative development at the Ignite<br />

Dance Festival in New Delhi in October, organised by the<br />

Gati Dance Forum.<br />

Lee Mun Wai and Lee Ren Xin reworked their<br />

collaborative creation at Dance Nucleus and Rimbun<br />

Dahan in Kuala Lumpur. This working phase was<br />

followed by work-in-progress presentations at SCOPE#3<br />

and at Five Arts Centre in Kuala Lumpur.<br />

Fauzi Amiridin and Ayu Permata Sari, from Kuala Lumpur<br />

and Yogyakarta respectively joined us for ELEMENT#2<br />

and SCOPE#3 in September, during which they met<br />

local artists, Alfian Sa’at, Norhaizad Adam and Amin<br />

Farid.<br />

In December, we also hosted Angela Goh and Luke<br />

George from Australia at SCOPE#4.<br />

At the time of writing, we are awaiting the approval of<br />

next year’s budget for Dance Nucleus. We certainly hope<br />

to be able to do more with and for the artists in Singapore<br />

and the region. To more artists talking, sharing,<br />

exchanging, experimenting with one another!<br />

*SOP = Standard Operational Procedures. A phrase often used in the<br />

Singaporean military that is also popular in Singaporean parlance. By<br />

SOP here, I am referring to all the administrative procedures our new<br />

team at Dance Nucleus has had to set up rapidly over 2018.<br />

Daniel Kok<br />

Independent Artist, diskodanny.com<br />

Artistic Director, Dance Nucleus<br />

1 2

For ELEMENT #2, Dance Nucleus brought together 4<br />

Malay (or Malay-identified) dance artists from Singapore,<br />

Peninsula Malaysia and Sumatra. Ayu Permata Sari<br />

(Lampung/Yogyakarta), Mohd Fauzi bin Amirudin<br />

(Kuala Lumpur), Norhaizad Adam (Singapore) and<br />

Soultari Amin Farid (Singapore) came together to<br />

formulate critical frameworks for their dance practices,<br />

which respond to their respective political, cultural,<br />

historical and/or socio-economic contexts.<br />

Element# 2<br />


The artists share common roots in Malay Dance, even if they each have<br />

different relationships with the form. Their ongoing negotiations with Malay<br />

Dance potentially deal with critical questions apropos the dichotomy of<br />

tradition and contemporaneity, which remains a pertinent question in<br />

Singapore and Southeast Asia. In this residency, the four artists engaged<br />

each other in discursive exchange and proposed their choreographic<br />

projects as critical case studies for contemporary practices in relation to<br />

Malay Dance. Coached by mentor, curator and dance scholar Helly<br />

Minarti, this residency as a whole addressed tensions amongst notions of<br />

‘Malayness’ and articulated plausible strategies to navigate the inherent<br />

politics within Malay Dance.<br />

In conjunction with the group mentoring, Helly Minarti facilitated a<br />

practical workshop by dancer/choreographer Benny Krishnawardi.<br />

Benny was trained in pencak-silat first before engaging with dance. More<br />

crucially, this workshop introduces the idea of a ‘bodily archive’, in which<br />

the dancer an inscription of history, and their dance an act of recall or<br />

reactivation of cultural memory and processes. In this workshop, Benny<br />

drew from his experience of being instrumental in co-shaping the<br />

pioneering choreographic practice of the late Gusmiati Suid (1942-2001),<br />

a Minangkabau-born choreographer who was presented internationally in<br />

the mid-1990s, including in important forums such as Pina Bausch’s<br />

festival. (Incidentally, Gusmiati’s son, Boi Sakti who is also a<br />

choreographer, worked actively in Singapore at the turn of this century) By<br />

reflecting on the development of Malay contemporary dance from the<br />

recent past, Helly’s goal was less to valorise a historic canon than to<br />

propose the body-as-living-archive as a springboard for reflection on<br />

contemporary practices by our artists-in-residence in ELEMENT#2.<br />

3 4

As BAHASA KOREOGRAFI was conducted in Malay and<br />

Indonesian languages as an effort to utilise a different vocabulary<br />

for dance discourse that is perhaps better suited to our<br />

artists-in-residence and our cultural region, Singaporean<br />

playwright Alfian Sa’at was engaged as a ‘translator’ in parallel to<br />

the group mentoring. As translator, Alfian’s role in this residency<br />

served several objectives. Firstly, Alfian interpreted the discussions<br />

and texts generated by the mentoring group into English and<br />

provide a clear entry point for non-Malay Singaporeans to enter<br />

and appreciate the discourse. Secondly, we invited Alfian to be a<br />

mediator to pose further probing questions to the mentoring group<br />

and to facilitate a conversation between our resident artists and the<br />

local Malay dance community. Additionally, Alfian as provocateur in<br />

this dialogic platform conducted a lecture presentation, entitled<br />

'Kurang Ajar: 10 Rude Gestures From Singapore Malay Theatre'.<br />

All four artists-in-residence conducted presentations in SCOPE #3.<br />

5 6

Element#2<br />


Gambaran Umum<br />

Bahasa Koreografi<br />

oleh Alfian Sa’at<br />

Sebuah kehormatan bagi saya untuk dapat<br />

menghabiskan waktu dengan empat orang penari<br />

sekaligus koreografer dan pembimbing mereka, Helly<br />

Minarti, sebagai satu bagian dari program yang disebut<br />

'Bahasa Koreografi'. Tujuan dari program ini adalah<br />

mengeksplorasi bahasa koreografi khususnya untuk<br />

tarian Melayu, dan untuk mengungkap wacana tarian<br />

dalam bahasa Melayu / Indonesia. Saya mengucapkan<br />

terima kasih kepada Daniel Kok dan Dance Nucleus<br />

atas undangan yang diberikan.<br />

Saya merupakan seseorang yang masih sangat baru<br />

dalam kesenian tari, dan saya pun memiliki bias<br />

tersendiri terhadap beberapa bentuk pertunjukan<br />

tradisional. Bias-bias ini sering berpusar pada kegiatan<br />

konsumsi, di mana kegiatan menonton sering tidak<br />

dapat dipisahkan dari tugas sosial untuk 'mendukung'<br />

apa yang telah dicap sebagai 'warisan budaya'<br />

seseorang. Tiitik awal dari sebuah budaya yang sedang<br />

dikepung (modernisasi / urbanisasi / Westernisasi dll),<br />

memiliki kecenderungan untuk tunduk pada<br />

kecemasan tentang apakah bentuk budaya tertentu<br />

dijaga agar tetap hidup. Tetapi apa yang ada pada<br />

dukungan kehidupan seringkali tidak terlalu hidup, dan<br />

untuk mendapatkan status 'setidaknya' akan mengarah<br />

pada menjamurnya klise-klise dan krisis kesalehan.<br />

Selama empat hari yang intensif, saya mendengarkan,<br />

mencatat, dan mengagumi berbagai macam diskusi yang<br />

dilakukan di studio, dan juga demonstrasi tarian yang<br />

dilakukan. Norhaizad Adam berbicara tentang Pasal 152<br />

Konstitusi Singapura, yang menjamin hak-hak minoritas dan<br />

'posisi khusus orang Melayu' (bagi Anda yang masih<br />

menggunakan frasa 'hak mayoritas' harap bangunkan persepsi<br />

Anda segera) . Sebagai seseorang yang terlatih dalam bidang<br />

tarian tradisional Melayu, dia bertanya-tanya tentang ruang bagi<br />

'kaum minoritas' seperti dia yang ingin menantang ortodoksi.<br />

Jika dia mendekati para guru tari dan gatekeeper untuk<br />

merumuskan suatu analogi ke Pasal 152, apa bentuknya?<br />

"Posisi khusus" apa yang akan diberikan kepada pelanggar<br />

aturan, dan apakah daftar pengecualian dan pengecualian akan<br />

lebih panjang dari artikel itu sendiri?<br />

Mohd Fauzi Bin Amirudin memperlihatkan kami beberapa<br />

bentuk tarian dimana dia dilatih, termasuk tarian piring, sebuah<br />

tarian Minang di mana penari menyeimbangkan piring di tangan<br />

mereka, dan di mana pemindahan berat badan sangat penting<br />

bagi eksekusi (berat piring diasimilasikan sebagai titik berat<br />

pada tubuh itu sendiri; piring menjadi perpanjangan dari tubuh).<br />

Tetapi mungkin yang paling berkesan bagi saya adalah<br />

demonstrasi Fauzi akan terinai, sebuah tarian yang bermula di<br />

istana Perlis, yang memiliki berbagai gerakan dan fase dengan<br />

nama-nama yang paling indah, seperti 'timang burung'<br />

(menimbang burung di telapak tangan), 'ketam bawa anak<br />

'(kepiting membawa anaknya) dan' layang mas '(layang-layang<br />

emas). Tarian tersebut ditampilkan sambil duduk dimana tarian<br />

itu cukup menghipnotis saat ditonton, kebanggaan para pemain<br />

larut ke dalam serangkaian cairnya gerakan-gerakan.<br />

7 8

Element#2<br />


OVERview of BAHASA<br />

KOREOGRAFI oleh Alfian Sa’at<br />

Soultari Amin Farid berbicara tentang bahasa Melayu ‘lenggang’,<br />

yang ia gambarkan sebagai gaya Melayu yang digunakan dalam<br />

tarian, yang melibatkan goyangan tangan. Ini adalah gerakan yang<br />

dikategorikan berdasarkan jenis kelamin penari: laki-laki lenggang<br />

memperoleh energinya dari siku mereka, sedangkan untuk penari<br />

perempuan memperoleh energinya dari jari jemari mereka. Ada juga<br />

lenggang bentuk lain yang tercatat dalam kamus, seperti 'lenggang<br />

janda' (gaya cerai), yang digunakan untuk menggambarkan gaya<br />

jalan yang genit; 'Lenggang patah tujuh' (gaya berjalan menjadi tujuh<br />

bagian) yang berarti berjalan melalui hutan dan menghindari ranting,<br />

akar dan duri; dan bahkan lenggang ‘gaya pribadi’, seperti<br />

kebanggaan yang digambarkan dalam Hikayat Anggun Che ’Tunggal<br />

sebagai‘ lenggang si tabur bayam ’(gaya penari bayam), yang dibina<br />

oleh pahlawan romantisme. Amin ingin mempelajari apakah ada<br />

bentuk-bentuk lenggang nasional (lenggang Singapura, Malaysia,<br />

Indonesia) yang diartikulasikan selama festival-festival Nusantara<br />

(serumpun) dan bagaimana mereka dapat menceritakan kisah<br />

perpecahan kolonial dunia Melayu.<br />

Yang terbaik, bagi saya, adalah dapat menghabiskan waktu<br />

hanya mendengarkan dan berbicara dengan Helly Minarti.<br />

Seorang spesialis dalam tari Minang, dan kurator Festival Tari<br />

Indonesia di Jakarta, amatlah mudah untuk benar-benar<br />

terpesona (kagum, segan) di hadapannya. Sangat jarang bagi<br />

saya untuk bertemu orang-orang dalam kehidupan nyata<br />

yang menganggap saya memiliki kualitas bagai perpustakaan<br />

hidup, dan Mbak Helly adalah salah satunya. Beliau adalah<br />

seseorang yang dapat memberitahu Anda perbedaan antara<br />

gaya Solo (lebih cair) dan gaya Yogya (lebih geometris),<br />

mengingat kutipan Pina Bausch ("Saya tidak tertarik pada<br />

bagaimana orang bergerak tetapi apa yang menggerakkan<br />

mereka"), yang mengingatkan orang-orang agar tidak terjun<br />

ke dramaturgi tari tanpa pertama-tama menyelesaikan<br />

pertanyaan tentang apa itu koreografi tari. Namun di seluruh<br />

sesi-sesi tersebut, beliau selalu rendah dan murah hati.<br />

Betapa cemerlangnya untuk mengetahui bahwa kita memiliki<br />

Ayu Permata Sari membahas penelitiannya tentang pengkodean<br />

dan mewujudkan gerakan orang-orang itu (bapak-bapak) yang<br />

menghadiri konser dangdut. Dangdut adalah bentuk populer musik<br />

pop di Indonesia yang memiliki reputasi di beberapa bagian sebagai<br />

musik bagi orang-orang yang tidak berpendidikan tinggi<br />

(kekampungan). Dia terpesona oleh beberapa gerakan yang<br />

dihasilkan oleh para pria di konser-konser tersebut, dimana mereka<br />

begitu tenggelam dalam musik yang membuat mereka bergoyang<br />

dengan mata setengah tertutup. Saat mewawancarai mereka, ia<br />

menyadari bahwa bagi sebagian pria, gerakan itu berasal dari<br />

kehidupan kerja mereka, misalnya ketukan keyboard atau stang<br />

sepeda motor berputar yang diubah menjadi bagian gerakan yang<br />

diulang dan ditambahkan. Dengan 'meminjam' gerakan-gerakan ini,<br />

Ayu ingin melihat apakah ia mampu mengatasi kebiasaan-kebiasaan<br />

dari tubuhnya yang terlatih dan mencapai tahap ketulusan, atau<br />

bahkan keluguan (keikhlasan tubuh), yang baginya dikemas dalam<br />

frasa “menari dengan hati ”(menari dari hati).<br />

9 10

Element#2<br />


Overview of<br />

Bahasa Koreografi<br />

by Alfian Sa’at<br />

I had the honour of spending time with four<br />

dancer-choreographers and their mentor, Helly Minarti,<br />

as part of a programme called ‘Bahasa Koreografi’. The<br />

aim of the programme is to explore choreographic<br />

language specific to Malay dance, and to uncover the<br />

discourse of dance in the Malay/Indonesian language.<br />

My deepest thanks to Daniel Kok and Dance Nucleus<br />

for the invitation.<br />

Over four intensive days, I listened, took notes, and marveled at<br />

the kinds of discussions generated in the studio, along with the<br />

demonstrations. Norhaizad Adam talked about Article 152 of<br />

the Singapore Constitution, the one which enshrines minority<br />

rights and the ‘special position of the Malays’ (those of you who<br />

still use the phrase ‘majority rights’ please wake up your idea,<br />

like now, immediately). As someone trained in traditional Malay<br />

dance, he wondered about the space for those ‘minorities’ like<br />

him who wanted to challenge orthodoxy. If he were to approach<br />

the various dance gurus and gatekeepers to formulate an<br />

analogue to Article 152, what shape will it take? What ‘special<br />

position’ will be accorded to the rulebreakers, and will the list of<br />

caveats and exceptions be longer than the article itself?<br />

I came in as someone who is still very new to dance,<br />

and with my own biases towards some forms of<br />

traditional performances. These biases often revolve<br />

around consumption, where spectatorship is often<br />

inextricable from a social duty to ‘support’ what has<br />

been branded as one’s ‘cultural heritage’. Given this<br />

starting point, of a culture that is under siege<br />

(modernisation/urbanisation/Westernisation etc), the<br />

tendency is for criticality to be subordinated to anxieties<br />

over whether a certain cultural form is even being ‘kept<br />

alive’. But what is on life support is often not very alive at<br />

all, and to settle for the ‘at least’ will lead to the<br />

proliferation of cliched mediocrities and a crisis of<br />

connoisseurship.<br />

Mohd Fauzi Bin Amirudin took us through some of the forms<br />

he was trained in, including that of the tarian piring, a Minang<br />

form where dancers balance saucers in their hands, and where<br />

the shifting of body weight (pemindahan berat badan) is crucial<br />

to its execution (the weight of the saucers assimilated as points<br />

of weight on the body itself; the saucers become extensions of<br />

the body). But perhaps most magical for me was Fauzi’s<br />

demonstration of the terinai, a dance from the court of Perlis,<br />

which have movements and phases with the most gorgeous<br />

names, such as ‘timang burung’ (weighing a bird on the palm),<br />

‘ketam bawa anak’ (crab carrying its child) and ‘layang mas’<br />

(golden kite). Performed while sitting down, the dance is<br />

hypnotic to watch, the majestic hauteur of the performer at<br />

points dissolving thrillingly into a series of liquid strokes.<br />

11 12

Element#2<br />


OVERview of BAHASA<br />

KOREOGRAFI by Alfian Sa’at<br />

Soultari Amin Farid talked about the Malay ‘lenggang’, which he<br />

describes as a Malay gait used in dance, involving the swaying of the<br />

hands. It is a gendered movement: the male lenggang derives its<br />

energy from the elbow, while for the female it is from the fingers.<br />

There are also other forms of lenggang recorded in the dictionary, like<br />

‘lenggang janda’ (divorcee’s gait), used to describe a flirtatious walk;<br />

‘lenggang patah tujuh’ (gait broken into seven parts), to mean<br />

walking through a forest and avoiding branches, roots and thorns;<br />

and even ‘personal signature’ lenggang, such as a swagger<br />

described in Hikayat Anggun Che’ Tunggal as ‘lenggang si tabur<br />

bayam’ (the spinach-sower’s gait), cultivated by the hero of the<br />

romance. Amin wanted to study whether there were national forms of<br />

the lenggang (the Singaporean, Malaysian, Indonesian) articulated<br />

during Nusantara (serumpun) festivals and how they could tell a story<br />

of the colonial dismemberment of the Malay world.<br />

Best of all, for me, was spending time just listening and<br />

conversing with Helly Minarti. A specialist in Minang dance,<br />

and a curator of the Indonesian Dance Festival in Jakarta, it is<br />

easy to be absolutely awestruck (kagum, segan) in her<br />

presence. It is rare for me to encounter people in real life who<br />

strike me as having the quality of a living library, and Mbak<br />

Helly is one of them. This is someone who can tell you the<br />

differences between the Solo style (more fluid) and the Yogya<br />

style (more geometric), recalls quotes such as that by Pina<br />

Bausch (“I am not interested in how people move but what<br />

moves them”), who cautions against jumping into dance<br />

dramaturgy without settling the question of what is dance<br />

choreography first. And yet throughout the sessions she was<br />

always nothing less than humble and generous. How brilliant<br />

to discover that we have so much, and even more brilliant to<br />

have someone show you what all of it is worth.<br />

Ayu Permata Sari discussed her research into codifying and<br />

embodying the movements of those men (bapak-bapak) attending a<br />

dangdut concert. Dangdut is a massively popular form of pop music<br />

in Indonesia, but which has a reputation in some quarters of being<br />

the music of the not-highly-educated masses (kekampungan). She<br />

was fascinated by some of the movements produced by the men at<br />

these concerts, often so immersed in the music that they would sway<br />

with their eyes half-closed. While interviewing them, she realised that<br />

for some of the men, the movements came from their working lives:<br />

there was keyboard-tapping, for example, or motorbike<br />

handlebar-twisting, turned into units of movements that were<br />

repeated and elaborated. By ‘borrowing’ these movements, Ayu<br />

wanted to see whether she was able to overcome the formal habits<br />

of her own trained body and to reach a stage of sincerity, or even<br />

innocence (keikhlasan tubuh), which for her was encapsulated in the<br />

phrase “menari dengan hati” (dancing from the heart).<br />

About<br />


Alfian is the Resident Playwright of W!LD RICE. He<br />

has been nominated at the Straits Times Life!<br />

Theatre Awards for Best Original Script ten times,<br />

and has received the award four times. His plays<br />

with W!LD RICE include HOTEL (with Marcia<br />

Vanderstraaten), The Asian Boys Trilogy,<br />

Cooling-Off Day, The Optic Trilogy and Homesick.<br />

He was the winner of the Golden Point Award for<br />

Poetry and the National Arts Council Young Artist<br />

Award for Literature in 2001. His publications<br />

include Collected Plays One and Two; poetry<br />

collections One Fierce Hour, A History of Amnesia<br />

and The Invisible Manuscript; and short-story<br />

collections Corridor and Malay Sketches.<br />

13 14

Element# 2<br />




(KE)MELAYU(AN)<br />

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbqvm1nvJD4<br />

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V21eCFIvr-w<br />

Istilah silat duduk diperkenalkan oleh Benny Krishnawardi<br />

yang saya undang untuk memberi workshop tentang gaya<br />

gerak Gumarang Sakti dasar yang diformulasikan oleh<br />

pendirinya, koreografer asal Minangkabau, Gusmiati Suid<br />

(1942-2001). Saya sengaja mengusulkan untuk<br />

mengundang Benny sebagai cara membuka percakapan<br />

tentang identitas Melayu - dan ketidak-Melayuan - di dalam<br />

tubuh-tari, garis keturunan (lineage) artistik serta<br />

perbedaan kultural tentang identitas Melayu di tiga konteks<br />

kenegaraan yang berbeda: Singapura, Malaysia dan<br />

Indonesia.<br />

Menurut Benny, silat duduk merujuk pada sesi informal<br />

dimana sang guru silat mengajak muridnya bicara tentang<br />

falsafah silat dan hakiki kehidupan, di dalam sasaran silat -<br />

tempat lapang di nagari (desa adat) Minangkabau dimana<br />

para pemuda sejatinya berlatih silat atau randai (teater<br />

tradisional). Biasanya, pembicaraan intim semacam ini<br />

ditujukan untuk murid yang dianggap sudah mendapat<br />

bekal cukup di dalam ilmu bela diri silat. Di dalam konteks<br />

Minangkabau, silat duduk adalah saat ketika percakapan<br />

tentang falsafah silat, adat yang mencakup etika<br />

kehidupan, terjalin. Silat duduk inilah yang akhirnya menjadi<br />

model alamiah bagi forum atau platform koreografik<br />

Bahasa Koreografi.<br />

oleh Helly Minarti<br />

Ketika Daniel Kok pertama kali mengutarakan gagasan<br />

tentang program element #2 tahun ini yang berfokus pada<br />

isu-isu seputar identitas serta praktik tari Melayu sebagai<br />

praktik transnasional di beberapa negara Asia Tenggara<br />

(utamanya Singapura, Malaysia dan Indonesia), saya<br />

merasa "dipaksa" menimbang ulang tentang pentingnya<br />

membawa identifikasi kultural di dalam praktik seni tari<br />

kontemporer. Awalnya, Daniel mengaku skeptikal tentang<br />

ini (".. saya koreografer kontemporer. Bukan koreografer<br />

Singapura atau China kontemporer"). Pandangan ini berubah<br />

ketika ia ikut menonton program Joget awal tahun ini di<br />

Esplanade Theatres on the Bay. Menyaksikan diskusi seru<br />

yang terpicu dari beberapa karya eksperimental dalam<br />

platform itu, terutamanya reaksi para tetua tari Melayu di<br />

Singapura atas beberapa karya yang dipentaskan, Daniel<br />

pun menangkap urgensi dalam membicarakan topik<br />

tentang tari Melayu sebagai sumber eksperimentasi tari<br />

kontemporer di Singapura.<br />

Ketika saya diundang untuk menjadi semacam 'mentor' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDKVycVfouQ<br />

(sebutan yang pada<br />

awalnya saya keberatan menyandang, karena mengisyaratkan adanya hierarki<br />

pengetahuan), saya segera mensyaratkan keikutsertaan Alfian Sa'at sebagai<br />

semacam 'provokator' di dalam forum yang diberi tajuk begitu tepat oleh Daniel<br />

(yang ajaibnya, justru tidak bisa berbahasa Melayu): Bahasa Koreografi.<br />

Saya merasa kehadiran Alfian penting sebagai sosok interlocutor yang banyak<br />

mendiskusikan masalah tentang identitas ke-Melayuan di status Facebooknya<br />

yang rajin saya ikuti. Ketika politik di Jakarta akhir 2016 memanas dengan isu<br />

lama tentang identitas ke-Indonesia-an (pribumi versus non pribumi, kategori<br />

yang terakhir ini otomatis diidentifikasi sebagai warga negara Indonesia keturunan<br />

Tionghoa), saya sempat mengusulkan sebuah gagasan proyek artistik ke Alfian,<br />

meski kami belum sempat membahasnya kembali dikarenakan kesibukan<br />

masing-masing.<br />

15 16

Element#2<br />




Melayu, Tari Melayu: Tiga Dimensi<br />

Keempat koreografer muda peserta element #2 mewakili kerumitan<br />

tafsir (Ke)Melayu(an) yang menghubungkan tiga noda kebudayaan di<br />

Asia Tenggara: Soultari Amin Farid dan Norhaizad Adam berasal dari<br />

Singapura, Mohd Fauzi bin Aminudin dari Kuala Lumpur dan Ayu<br />

Permata Sari yang asal Lampung tetapi menetap di Yogyakarta selama<br />

tujuh tahun terakhir.<br />

oleh Helly Minarti<br />

Konstelasinya begini: di Singapura, kaum Melayu adalah minoritas<br />

(vis-a-vis kaum keturunan https://www.amazon.com/Flow-Psychology-Experience-Perennial-Classics/dp/0061339202<br />

China yang mayoritas), sementara di<br />

Malaysia sebaliknya (Melayu mayoritas, China dan India minoritas). Di<br />

kedua negara ini, Melayu merujuk pada identitas rasial - dengan segala<br />

konsekuensi kebijakan diskriminatif dari negara - sementara di<br />

Indonesia, Melayu adalah satu diantara ratusan suku-bangsa (etnisitas)<br />

lainnya - sama sekali bukan identitas rasial, meski memang digolongkan<br />

ke dalam kategory yang problematis: pribumi.<br />

Secara geografis, Indonesia merujuk provinsi Riau, Kepulauan Riau<br />

(Kepri) dan Sumatra Utara (Deli, bukan bagian lainnya yang dihuni suku<br />

bangsa Batak), sebagai daerah utama asal suku-bangsa Melayu. Tetapi<br />

seperti juga telah diteliti oleh banyak ahli (Julianti Parani, diantaranya),<br />

suku-bangsa Melayu di Indonesia juga tersebar di pulau-pulau lainnya,<br />

seperti di pesisir Kalimantan, Sulawesi hingga kepulauan Maluku.<br />

Namun, meskipun suku bangsa minoritas, kedudukan suku Melayu unik<br />

di lanskap kebudayaan Indonesia, karena Bahasa Melayu menjadi<br />

dasar Bahasa Indonesia, bahasa nasional. Dengan suku Jawa (dengan<br />

segala keragaman di tataran lokalitasnya) sebagai mayoritas,<br />

menjadikan bahasa suku minoritas sebagai bahasa nasional adalah<br />

strategi yang ikut menyelamatkan Indonesia dari potensi konflik internal<br />

jika menjadikan Bahasa Jawa (bahasa sang mayoritas), sebagai bahasa<br />

nasional.<br />

Jika workshop dua hari oleh Benny menggunakan<br />

Minangkabau untuk mengontraskan perbedaan kultural<br />

dalam spektrum rumpun Melayu di Indonesia (di konteks<br />

kebudayaan tari Minangkabau, tari Melayu dianggap tari<br />

pendatang dan hanya sempat popular di kota-kota besar di<br />

tahun 1960an), maka ceramah Alfian tentang kilasan sejarah<br />

identitas Melayu di dalam praktik teater di Singapura (apa<br />

yang dilarang dan dianggap kurang ajar), menukik ke dalam<br />

arena praktik seni kekinian. Kilas balik ini memantik diskusi<br />

melingkar setelah ceramah, diantaranya seputar<br />

tegangan-tegangan yang ada diantara konstelasi di atas<br />

tentang identitas Ke-Melayu-an dan bagaimana<br />

mengartikulasikan strategi-strategi yang jitu untuk menavigasi<br />

politik-politik yang melekat di dalam (praktik) tari Melayu. Di<br />

bawah ini adalah catatan yang tercecer dari pertemuan,<br />

perbincangan serta rangkaian letupan anekdot di sana-sini<br />

yang ikut mewarnai:<br />

Garis Keturunan Artistik:<br />

Arsip Ketubuhan dan Aspirasi<br />

Menemukan Tubuh yang Kini<br />

Menelusuri proses belajar seseorang sebagai bagian dari lintasan<br />

(trajectory) personal hanyalah langkah awal dalam menyadari dan<br />

menerima bahwa tubuh tari yang kini didiami adalah warisan dari<br />

sebuah garis keturunan artistik yang disampaikan melalui transmisi<br />

tertentu dari modernitas. Di Singapura, transisi ini bisa berbasis<br />

komunitas (sanggar untuk menyebut istilah di Bahasa Indonesia)<br />

ataupun ruang edukatif lainnya - seperti kegiatan ekstra kurikuler di<br />

sekolah dan universitas di Singapura. Amin mendapuk Hasyima (yang<br />

bersama Norhaizad mendirikan Prisma), untuk mengurai lintasan<br />

perjalanannya belajar tari Melayu dari dua guru dari gaya yang berbeda,<br />

hingga proses penciptaan karyanya, Nak Dara, yang memantik diskusi<br />

diantara para guru tari Melayu di Singapura. Buat saya, penuturan<br />

Hasyima yang sarat refleksi diri bukan hanya ilustratif tetapi juga<br />

diskursif untuk bisa memahami konteks apa artinya menjadi anak muda<br />

Melayu di kota Singapura. Salah satunya adalah bagaimana berada di<br />

dalam posisi ketika menjadi proyeksi atau pantulan dari<br />

harapan-harapan sang guru, dan ketika kedua hal ini tak bertemu.<br />

17 18

Element#2<br />




oleh Helly Minarti<br />

Soultari Amin membingkai praktiknya sebagai praktisi-peneliti dan<br />

membawa pengamatan - termasuk penubuhannya - atas ragam<br />

lenggang Melayu. Di sini, lenggang Melayu menjadi gerakan yang<br />

sarat narasi atas asal muasal, identifikasi atas lokalitas ataupun<br />

ketubuhan individual. Amin memahami lenggang sebagai sebuah<br />

bahasa yang ia kuasai dengan fasih, sebagai ekspresi berjender<br />

yang akhirnya ia coba dengan mentransfernya ke dalam tubuhnya<br />

sendiri. Yang cukup mengejutkan bagi saya adalah identifikasi<br />

lenggang Jakarta sebagai salah satu pengaruh dan bagaimana<br />

tarian Melayu dari guru-guru Jakarta - satu nama kerap muncul,<br />

yaitu Tom Ibnur - yang datang ke Singapura untuk mengajar, menjadi<br />

semacam patokan yang hegemonik. Sewaktu beberapa tahun silam<br />

Kekayaan dan ruang lingkup ragam tari Melayu di Malaysia tersingkap ketika ia<br />

berbagi salah satu tarian klasik Kesultanan Perlis, Terinai dalam sebuah workshop<br />

singkat di studio P7:1SMA (baca: Prisma) milik Norhaizad dan Hasyima. Sebuah<br />

ragam yang bisa jadi tidak menemukan konteks kultural di Singapura, dan juga<br />

Indonesia. Di dalam karya koreografiknya, Fauzi menelisik Tari Piring dari Negeri<br />

Sembilan, Malaysia, yang sesungguhnya beresonansi dengan silat Minangkabau<br />

sebagai asal. Namun, di luar teknik tari yang mengandalkan kecepatan dan<br />

virtuositas ataupun langkah-langkah silat yang menjadi dasar Tari Piring, apakah<br />

yang terus menggelitik untuk digali, terutama yang berkaitan dengan tubuh<br />

kekiniannya?<br />

https://www.amazon.com/Flow-Psychology-Experience-Perennial-Classics/dp/0061339202<br />

Bagi Mohd Fauzi bin Aminudin, tari Melayu hanyalah salah satu dari<br />

beberapa bentuk dan genre tarian yang harus ia pelajari di ASWARA,<br />

satu-satunya pendidikan tinggi kesenian di Malaysia. Sebagai bagian<br />

dari kurikulum yang inklusif, Fauzi harus menyelam ke dalam alam<br />

tetarian Melayu, India (bharatanatyam terutama), China dan juga<br />

teknik-teknik yang tidak berakar di tradisi Asia (identifikasi India dan<br />

China di sini tentu saja mengandung problematikanya sendiri, meski<br />

di sini tidak ada ruang untuk mendiskusikannya). Proyek nasionalistis<br />

di ranah akademik seni terdengar familiar dengan pengalaman<br />

Indonesia melalui pembentukan dan penyebaran beberapa ISI<br />

(Institut Seni Indonesia) yang dibuka di beberapa kota utama; meski<br />

dalam kasus ISI, nasionalisme harus bersinggungan dengan lokalitas<br />

setempat dimana sebuah cabang ISI itu berada, dan lokasi tercermin<br />

dalam penekanan kurikulum dimana ISI tersebut berada (misalnya ISI<br />

di Denpasar, Bali, menekankan kurikulum pada tetarian asal Bali).<br />

Untuk karya koreografik berikutnya Norhaizad tertarik untuk bekerja dengan Artikel<br />

152 tentang hak-hak minoritas di Singapura. Koreografi-pun menjadi sebuah<br />

strategi dalam mengartikulasikan elemen dan medium yang berbeda, yang<br />

seringkali keluar dari tubuh fisik, untuk membentuk tubuh lain (tubuh digital,<br />

misalnya).<br />

Ayu Permata Sari yang berasal dari Lampung namun menetap<br />

di Yogyakarta selama tujuh tahun terakhir, berkutat dengan<br />

TubuhDang TubuhDut, hasil pengamatan dan penelitiannya atas<br />

gerakan joget dangdut yang dilakukan oleh para penonton<br />

dangdut di sebuah klab dangdut lokal yang kebanyakan lelaki.<br />

Dangdut adalah musik populer khas Indonesia yang awalnya<br />

mengambil idiom musik Melayu namun pada perjalanannya juga<br />

dipengaruhi oleh irama musik lainnya - seperti langgam tabla<br />

India, nuansa musik Arabia hingga musik rock di tahun 1970an<br />

dan terakhir menjadi 'dangdut koplo' - sebuah genre dangdut<br />

hibrid terbaru. Mempresentasikan karyanya yang sangat<br />

berakar di lokalitas ke-Indonesian di Singapura membuat Ayu<br />

berkutat mencari cara untuk mengontekstualisasikannya ke<br />

dalam alam kultural yang sangat berbeda dimana idiom dangdut<br />

tidak dikenal.<br />

19 20

Element#2<br />




oleh Helly Minarti<br />

Tubuh, tari dan diri Melayu (dan Ke-Tidak-Melayuan) diurai dan<br />

ditelisik selama empat hari, sebagai sebuah praktik silat duduk<br />

kolektif, ketika sejarah, memori, narasi dan lintasan ketubuhan<br />

saling berkelindan. Bagi saya pribadi, rangkaian seminggu<br />

Bahasa Koreografi menjadi medan pertemuan yang bukan<br />

saja inspiratif dan investigatif, tetapi juga momentum<br />

pertemuan silang yang selayaknya dirintis sejak lama. Namun,<br />

seperti juga bunyi pepatah Melayu, lebih baik terlambat<br />

daripada tidak sama sekali.<br />

21 22

Element# 2<br />





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbqvm1nvJD4<br />

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V21eCFIvr-w<br />

The term silat duduk (literally means ‘sitting silat’, silat as in<br />

pencak-silat, the martial arts practice shared in the<br />

transnational Malay world), was introduced by Benny<br />

Krishnawardi whom I invited to give a workshop on the<br />

basic movement vocabulary of Gumarang Sakti. The latter<br />

was formed by the late Minangkabau (West Sumatra)<br />

choreographer, Gusmiati Suid (1942-2001). I invited Benny<br />

to join in for Dance Nucleus’ ELEMENT#2 residency as a<br />

way to open up the conversation on Malay identity, or even<br />

the unmalayness, in relation to the dancing body. We also<br />

looked at the artistic lineage as well as the different Malay<br />

identities as rooted in three different stately contexts: of<br />

Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.<br />

by Helly Minarti<br />

According to Benny, silat duduk refers to the informal<br />

session where a silat master invites his student(s) to discuss<br />

the philosophy of silat and of life, taking place in sasaran<br />

silat - or an open field in the nagari (customary<br />

Minangkabau village unit) where young men traditionally<br />

train in silat or randai (traditional theatre). Usually, such<br />

intimate conversations are reserved for advanced students<br />

in pencak silat. Within Minangkabau context, silat duduk is<br />

where the discussion of silat philosophy, customs that<br />

include life ethics, are intertwined. This silat duduk has<br />

become a natural model for the forum or choreographic<br />

platform of ELEMENT#2: Bahasa Koreografi.<br />

When Daniel Kok first expressed his intention to do this<br />

ELEMENT#2 by focusing on issues around the identities<br />

and practices of Malay dance as a transnational practice in<br />

Southeast Asia (mainly Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia),<br />

I felt compelled to reconsider the obligation of bringing up<br />

cultural identification in contemporary dance practice. In the<br />

beginning, Daniel indeed admitted to being sceptical about<br />

it (".. I am a contemporary choreographer. Not a Singaporean<br />

or Chinese contemporary choreographer"). This view<br />

apparently changed when he watched the Joget<br />

programme organised by Esplanade Theatres on the Bay.<br />

Witnessing the heated debate triggered by some experimental<br />

works presented in that platform, especially the<br />

reaction of the elders of Singapore's Malay dance scene<br />

over certain works, Daniel sensed the urgency to discuss<br />

this topic of Malay dance being the source for experimental<br />

dance for its practitioners in Singapore.<br />

When I was invited to be a 'mentor' (a descriptor that https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDKVycVfouQ<br />

I resisted in the beginning<br />

since I think it hints at a hierarchy in knowledge), I immediately inquired the involvement<br />

of Alfian Sa'at to take up a role of 'provocateur' in the forum that was given<br />

quite an apt title by Daniel (who doesn't speak any Malay): Bahasa Koreografi.<br />

Alfian's presence was instrumental as an interlocutor, especially given his frequent<br />

and animated discussions on the problems surrounding Malayness on Facebook,<br />

which I have been following rather religiously. Towards the end of 2016, when the<br />

age-old issue of Indonesian identities was reignited in the political scene in Jakarta<br />

(pribumi, or indigenous versus the non-indigenous), the latter category here automatically<br />

referred to Indonesian citizens of Chinese descent). I had already<br />

proposed to work with Alfian on an artistic project, although we never found the<br />

chance to get to it due our busy schedules.<br />

23 24

Element#2<br />


Malay, Malay Dance:<br />

Three Dimensions<br />

The four young choreographers participating in ELEMENT#2 follow the<br />

complexity of interpreting Malay(ness) pertaining to their respective<br />

cultural contexts in Southeast Asia: Soultari Amin Farid and Norhaizad<br />

Adam are from Singapore, Mohd Fauzi bin Aminudin from Kuala Lumpur<br />

and Ayu Permata Sari yang asal Lampung tetapi menetap di Yogyakarta<br />

selama tujuh tahun terakhir.<br />

Their various constellations can be described as such:<br />



In Singapore, the Malays are a minority race within the population<br />

(vis-a-vis those of Chinese descent who make up the majority), whilst it<br />

is the reverse in Malaysia (the Malays as majority, the Chinese and<br />

Indians are minorities). In these two countries, the word ‘Malay’ refers to<br />

racial identity - with all the consequences of the discriminatory policies<br />

from the state embedded with it. Meanwhile in Indonesia, ‘Malay’ simply<br />

refers to one of its hundreds of ethnicities - not at all a racial identity,<br />

although indeed, it is categorised within the problematic category - the<br />

pribumi.<br />

by Helly Minarti<br />

https://www.amazon.com/Flow-Psychology-Experience-Perennial-Classics/dp/0061339202<br />

In geographical terms, ‘Malay’ in Indonesia refers to the provinces of<br />

Riau, Riau islands and North Sumatra (the Deli part, not other parts<br />

inhabited by the Batak), as the main original locations for the Malays.<br />

But as researched by many scholars (among them Julianti Parani), the<br />

Malays in Indonesia is also spread out in other islands, such as coastal<br />

Kalimatan, Sulawesi, and up to the Molucca archipelago. However,<br />

although the Malays constitutes a minority group, it has a unique place<br />

within the Indonesia's cultural landscape, since the Malay language<br />

(Bahasa Melayu) is the basis for Bahasa Indonesia, the national<br />

language of Indonesia today. Given that the Javanese (with its varied<br />

localities) is the majority group in Indonesia, the adoption of the<br />

language of a small minority proved to be a strategy that prevented<br />

internal conflict, than if Indonesia had made Javanese, the language of<br />

its majority group, the national language instead.<br />

In the two-day workshop, Benny used Minangkabau as an<br />

example to highlight the cultural differences within the<br />

spectrum of Malay groups in Indonesia. (In the context of<br />

Minangkabau dance culture, Malay dance is perceived as<br />

something imported and was only popular in the big cities<br />

back in the 1960s.)<br />

Similarly, Alfian’s lecture on Malay Identity provided a historical<br />

flash back in Singaporean theatre, citing examples of what<br />

was banned, what was perceied as 'kurang ajar' or<br />

obnoxious. This flash back triggered a circle discussion after<br />

the lecture. We discussed issues surrounding the tensions<br />

shaping Malay identity in the arts in Singapore, and how to<br />

articulate effective strategies in navigating politics embedded<br />

in the practice of Malay dance.<br />

The following are the notes from our meetings, conversations<br />

and a series of anecdotes that came up. They help give colour<br />

to what I have discussed above:<br />

Artistic Lineage:<br />

The Bodily Archive and Aspiration to<br />

Discover the Contemporary Body<br />

Tracing one's personal trajectory in a learning process begins<br />

with an awareness and the acceptance that the dancing body<br />

that one inhabits is what one inherits from a certain artistic<br />

lineage, transmitted through a mode of modernity.<br />

In Singapore, this transmission can be community-based<br />

(sanggar in Bahasa Indonesia) or other educational spaces,<br />

such as extra-curricular activities in schools or the university<br />

in the case of Singapore.<br />

25 26

Element#2<br />




by Helly Minarti<br />

Amin nudged Hasyimah, who co-founded P7:1SMA together with<br />

Norhaizad and joined our discussions intermittently, to unravel her<br />

own trajectory of learning in Malay dance - from two different<br />

teachers of two different styles, up to her creating Nak Dara, which<br />

triggered a heated discussion among the Malay dance teachers in<br />

Singapore. For me, the way Hasyimah narrated this, which was<br />

dense with self-reflection, was not only illustrative but also<br />

discursive. Her narrative reflects a wider discussion on what it means<br />

to be a young Malay in Singapore. In her case, how to negotiate a<br />

position when one becomes the projection or reflection of the<br />

teachers' hopes, and how when these two - one’s aspiration and her<br />

teachers’ - do not meet.<br />

https://www.amazon.com/Flow-Psychology-Experience-Perennial-Classics/dp/0061339202 Balinese dances.<br />

For Mohd Fauzi bin Aminudin, Malay dance is only one of several dance forms that<br />

he had to learn at ASWARA, the only conservatory-modeled higher education<br />

programme for dance in Malaysia. As part of an inclusive (or all-encompassing)<br />

curriculum, Fauzi had to delve into the different forms - Malay dance, Indian (mainly<br />

bharatanatyam), Chinese, and other techniques that are rooted in Asian traditions<br />

(the identification of Indian and Chinese dance forms indeed carries its own<br />

problematics, although there is no room to discuss these further in our residency).<br />

Such a nationalistic project in the academic realm would sound familiar for<br />

Indonesians, whose experience through the founding and spreading of several ISIs<br />

(Indonesia Institute of the Arts), which operate in several main cities. Nevertheless,<br />

in the case of the ISIs, nationalism has to somehow rub shoulders with the<br />

respective locales they are set up in. This in turn brings about different emphases<br />

in the local curricula. For instance, the Denpasar ISI in Bali, places an emphasis on<br />

Soultari Amin frames his practice as artist researcher focussing on his<br />

observation on and embodiment of the lenggang Melayu (Malay gait).<br />

Here, the Malay gait becomes a movement infused with different<br />

narratives of origins, and identifications of certain locales and<br />

individuals (including the teachers). Amin understands the gait as a<br />

form of gendered language that he has become fluent in, the intricate<br />

vocabularies of which he now tries to articulate using his own body.<br />

What I found rather shocking is that the identification of Jakarta's gait<br />

as an influence on the local style in Singapore, and how Malay dance<br />

was taught by teachers from Jakarta. One name that kept surfacing<br />

in our conversations is Tom Ibnur, who came to Singapore to teach<br />

and became a hegemonic barometer. Several years ago, when I<br />

co-designed a programme on investigating Malay Dance as an<br />

attempt to reread the practice of Malay dance in the Indonesian<br />

capital, Jakarta was positioned as a diasporic location - if not a<br />

peripheral one when it comes to Malay dance development.<br />

The richness and the scope of Malay dance in Malaysia was revealed when Amin<br />

shared with us the Terinai, a classical dance from the court of Perlis during a short<br />

workshop in the studio of P7:1SMA (read as ‘Prisma’), founded by Norhaizad and<br />

Hasyimah. This is a formal variation that has not found its cultural context in<br />

Singapore, nor most probably, in Indonesia.<br />

In his choreographic work, Fauzi also investigates the Tari Piring<br />

(Plate Dance) from Negeri Sembilan in Malaysia, which<br />

resonates with the Minangkabau silat as its origin of movement<br />

vocabulary. However, outside the dance techniques that rely on<br />

speed and virtuosity, and the silat steps that form the basis of<br />

Tari Piring, what exactly are the ideas and questions that<br />

stimulate him to dig deeper, especially that which relates with his<br />

body and its contemporaneity?<br />

For his next choreographic work, Norhaizad is interested to work<br />

with the Article 152 that states the minority rights of the Malays<br />

in Singapore. Choreography here becomes a strategy to<br />

articulate different elements and mediums that often go beyond<br />

the physical body, giving form to other bodies, such as the digital<br />

body.<br />

27 28

Element#2<br />




by Helly Minarti<br />

Ayu Permata Sari who hails from Lampung but has called<br />

Yogyakarta home for the last seven years, has struggled with<br />

her TubuhDang TubuhDut. The latter is a project in which she<br />

observations and researches on the movement of the<br />

audience, which comprises mostly of men, in local dangdut<br />

clubs. Dangdut is Indonesian popular music that was based on<br />

Malay music but took on other musical influences such as the<br />

Indian tabla, Arabic musical nuances, rock music of the 1970s,<br />

and most recently the localised dangdut koplo - the latest<br />

hybrid dangdut genre. Presenting her work that is very much<br />

rooted in specific Indonesian contexts in Singapore where<br />

dangdut is not known, has obligated Ayu to find ways to<br />

recontextualise and articulate her work differently.<br />

ABOUT<br />


In ELEMENT#2: Bahasa Koreografi, the Malay (and the<br />

Un-Malay) body, Malay dance and Malay self have been<br />

elaborated and investigated intensively over our four days<br />

together. We looked at the ways in which history, memory,<br />

narrative and trajectory of embodiment are intertwined, and<br />

our discussions became a shared embodied practice of silat<br />

duduk.<br />

For me personally, this week-long programme was not merely<br />

a meeting that I found inspiring and investigative, but<br />

constituted the beginning of a momentum for a cross-cultural<br />

meeting that should have taken place long ago. But as a Malay<br />

saying goes, better late than never.<br />

Born in Jakarta, Helly now works as an independent<br />

itinerant dance scholar/curator, rethinking radical<br />

strategies to connect theory and practice. She is mostly<br />

interested in historiographies of choreography as<br />

discursive practice on top of her fixation with certain<br />

knowledges that view body/nature as cosmology<br />

especially those rooted in Tantra/Taoism. She worked as<br />

Head of Arts for the British Council Indonesia (2001-03)<br />

which set her off to curating. Her most recent curatorial<br />

project is Jejak- Tabi Exchange: Wandering Asian<br />

Contemporary Performance, an exchange platform that<br />

takes a traveling festival format she co-curates. She has<br />

been involved in various exchange arts projects, invited<br />

to various forums/conferences and conducted research<br />

fellowships in Asia, Europe and the US. She was voted<br />

as the Head of Programme of Jakarta Arts Council twice<br />

- a unique collaborative curatorial platform (2013-17).<br />

Helly earned a PhD in dance studies from University of<br />

Roehampton (London, UK) and will call Yogyakarta as<br />

her new home from late 2018 onwards.<br />

29 30

Element# 2<br />


Proses “Bahasa<br />

Koreografi”<br />

oleh Ayu Permata Sari<br />

Sebelum saya menulis tentang pengalaman saya dalam residensi ini, saya ingin<br />

mengucapkan terimakasih sebesar-besarnya terhadap Tuhan, orang-orang yang di<br />

sekeliling saya dan Dance Nucleus, yang telah memberikan saya kesempatan<br />

untuk bertemu, berbicara dan berkerja dengan orang-orang yang hebat dalam<br />

bidangnya.<br />

Pada proses residensi dengan tajuk Bahasa koreografi,<br />

terdapat 2 mentor dan 4 seniman berdarah melayu dengan tiga<br />

negara yang berbeda. Dua mentor tersebut ialah Helly Minari<br />

dari Indonesia seorang pengkaji seni dan kurator seni tari, dan<br />

Alfian Sa’at, seorang yang berkecimpung dalam dunia teater<br />

khususnya di Singapura. Empat seniman yang menjadi peserta<br />

antara lain, Amin Farid koreografer dan pengkaji tari asal<br />

Singapura, Norhaizad Adam koreografer dan penari asal<br />

Singapura, Mohd Fauzi Amirudin koreografer dan penari asal<br />

Kuala Lumpur, dan saya sendiri, Ayu Permata Sari, koreografer<br />

dan penari asal Lampung, yang kini berdomisili di Yogyakarta,<br />

Indonesia.<br />

Pada awal kegiatan ini kami berkenalan melalui karya-karya<br />

yang telah diciptakan oleh masing-masing sebelumnya. untuk<br />

mengenal karakter dan mengenal cara pandang ataupun cara<br />

pikir setiap peserta. Selain melihat dua karya sebelumnya, kami<br />

juga menceritakan kegelisahan dalam berkarya baik pada diri<br />

sendiri ataupun yang terjadi di negara masing-masing peserta.<br />

Karena latar belakang kehidupan seniman sangat<br />

mempengaruhi proses berkarya, sehingga ini penting di<br />

bicarakan. Peserta juga memberikan pemanasan tubuh<br />

sebelum kegiatan diskusi di mulai. Di hari pertama Norhaizad<br />

yang memberikan teknik kepekaan terhadap ruang, Hari kedua<br />

saya memberikan materi berupa gerak-gerak dangdut; hari<br />

ketiga, Amin memberikan motivasi-motivasi bergerak yang<br />

dimulai dari satu titik, dan hari keempat Fauzi memberikan<br />

sebuah peregangan otot-otot atau seperti sebuah pijatan.<br />

31 32

Element#2<br />


Proses “Bahasa<br />

Koreografi”<br />

oleh Ayu Permata<br />

Setelah mengenal beberapa karya dari setiap peserta, kami<br />

memfokuskan kepada karya yang akan kami presentasikan di<br />

Dance Nucleus. Satu-persatu menjelaskan tentang<br />

asal-muasal kenapa kami memilih konsep tersebut untuk<br />

berproses dan saya menjelaskan karya yang sedang saya<br />

geluti sejak awal tahun 2018 yaitu penubuhan gerak penonton<br />

dangdut. Saya sendiri memiliki kegelisahan tentang konsep<br />

“menari dengan hati”. Banyak orang yang mengatakan<br />

“menarilah dengan hati”, namun seperti apa kedalaman menari<br />

dengan hati tersebut? Saya bertanya-tanya pada diri saya<br />

sendiri, apakah saya sudah menari dengan hati atau hanya<br />

dengan pikiran. Selain kalimat “menari dengan hati” saya juga<br />

memiliki kegelisahan dengan pembendaharaan gerak yang<br />

ada di dalam tubuh saya. Saya merasa bosan dengan<br />

ketubuhan tari yang saya miliki, sehingga saya membutuhkan<br />

asupan yang lain untuk perbendaharaan gerak pada tubuh<br />

saya sendiri. Dua kegelisahan saya tersebut saya temui di<br />

penonton dangdut. Dangdut adalah musik pop khas Indonesia<br />

yang merupakan akulturasi dari budaya Arab, India dan<br />

Melayu. (Akan saya cantumkan bagan di halaman akhir untuk<br />

proses saya menemukan konsep ini.)<br />

Konsep karya dangdut tersebut saya tandai dengan istilah<br />

ruang antara. M,endengar penjelasan tersebut, Amin<br />

memberitahu saya tentang konsep liminalitas. Sejak itu saya<br />

mencari arti dari kata liminalitas dan bagaimana “proses” dari<br />

liminalitas itu sendiri. Karya yang akan saya presentasikan ini<br />

saya beri judul TubuhDang TubuhDut. Karya ini sudah pernah<br />

di presentaskan di festival Jejak Tabi Exchange: Wandering<br />

Contemporary Asian Performance, di Yogyakarta bulan Juli<br />

2018. Saya mencoba menceritakan alur dan pemanggungan<br />

karya ini. Untuk bagian awal saya menggunakan video<br />

sabagai pengantar, namun banyak pertanyaan muncul seperti<br />

seberapa penting video itu diadakan. Helly dan Alfian<br />

menegaskan tentang penonton karya TubuhDang TubuhDut,<br />

sejauh mana penonton karya TubuhDang-TubuhDut<br />

mengakses dangdut, dan ditanyakan ulang kepada diri sendiri<br />

(saya) niatnya apa dalam menciptakan karya ini.<br />

Terdapat waktu satu minggu sebelum hari presentasi yaitu tanggal<br />

21-22 september 2018. Pada tanggal 15-20 September 2018 kami<br />

para peserta berproses secara mandiri. Pada awalnya saya<br />

menggunakan studio untuk proses latihan, namun pada hari terakhir<br />

pertemuan tanggal 14 September 2018, saya mengubah konsep<br />

latihan saya dari dalam studio ke ruang publik seperti MRT, Mall,<br />

Pusat berbelanja seperti Bugis, pinggir jalan atau di persimpangan<br />

jalan/area lampu tanda lalu lintas. Meskipun cukup susah meminta<br />

izin untuk menari dengan petugas keamanan setempat. Sesekali<br />

waktu saya pun menari sendiri tanpa meminta izin atau istilah lainnya<br />

“tembak tempat” namun saya melihat terlebih dahulu kawasannya,<br />

apakah aman atau tidak untuk saya menari, karena takut ditangkap<br />

polisi yang mungkin berpikir bahwa saya orang gila. Saya melatih<br />

kepercayaan diri saya dalam bergerak di ruang publik.. Gerak-gerak<br />

penonton dangdut yang cukup terlihat memalukan sering kali<br />

membuat saya kurang percaya diri untuk bergerak, sehingga saya<br />

harus melatih kepercayaan diri saya di ruang publik.<br />

Tanggal 21-22 September 2018 presentasi Dance Nucleus di<br />

laksanakan. Tidak hanya kami berempat yang mempresentasikan<br />

karya, tetapi juga seniman-seniman lainnya yang juga presentasi<br />

pada hari tersebut. Presentasi karya TubuhDang TubuhDut<br />

memdapat nomor urut kedua di hari pertama tanggal 21 September<br />

2018. Pengalaman yang berbeda ketika saya mementaskan karya ini<br />

di Yogyakarta sebelumnya. Di Yogyakarta semua penonton yang<br />

hadir 90% mengetahui Dangdut, sehingga suasana pementasan cair<br />

dan semua orang tau konteks yang sedang dituju. Berbeda dengan<br />

di Singapura dimana penonton tidak mengetahui apa itu dangdut<br />

sehingga cukup sulit menyerap energi penonton meskipun ada satu<br />

orang yang ikut bergoyang. Pengalaman penonton pada presentasi<br />

di Dance Nucleus ini, mereka menginterpretasikan saya memiliki<br />

ruang sendiri dalam menikmati musik dan mereka takut<br />

mengganggunya meskipun mereka ingin ikut bergabung serta<br />

interpretasi tentang ketidakpedulian dengan sekitar. Daniel Kok<br />

menegaskan kepada saya, bagaimana membuat penonton<br />

mengetahui bahwa ini adalah soal penubuhan. Pekerjaan rumah<br />

bagi saya dalam mencari sebuah pengantar yang tepat untuk<br />

memulai pertunjukan karya ini<br />

33 34

Element#2<br />


Proses “Bahasa<br />

Koreografi”<br />

oleh Ayu Permata<br />

Selain mendapatkan masukan yang sangat baik untuk karya TubuhDang<br />

TubuhDut, saya juga mendapatkan banyak pengalaman menonton yang beragam<br />

pada Residensi Dance Nucleus ini. Banyak bentuk penyajian karya yang belum<br />

pernah saya lihat, dan saya sangat senang memiliki sebuah pengalaman baru<br />

dalam hal menonton ataupun dalam hal mengenal budaya berkesenian di<br />

Singapura.<br />

Embodiment of the<br />

movement of the<br />

dangdut audience<br />

Move freely<br />

Really<br />

enjoy it<br />

Answer A<br />

dan B<br />

Not think<br />

of form<br />

Before heading to the concept,<br />

these 2 issues that led me to the dangdut point.<br />

Unique<br />

movement<br />

When is the dancer<br />

moving with heart.<br />

Saturated with body<br />

movements that are<br />

always done.<br />

TubuDang Tubuhdut<br />

DungduT<br />


Daily Activities (Pre Liminal)- dangdut<br />

as a space to release fatigue.<br />

Liminal - Back to the routine again<br />

with a better feeling.<br />

Alcohol<br />

Audience<br />

Biduan,<br />

female singer<br />

Musical<br />

instrument<br />

Interview- about the background<br />

of the vistor’s life and the reason<br />

they came to the dangdut<br />

performance.<br />

Brawl<br />

Emcee<br />

Stage<br />

Many man<br />

35 36

Element# 2<br />


The Process of<br />

‘Bahasa Koreografi’<br />

by Ayu Permata Sari<br />

Before I write about my experiences during this residency, I wish to express my<br />

biggest thanks to God, those around me and also Dance Nucleus, who have given<br />

me the opportunity to meet, discuss with and work with those who are experts in<br />

their fields.<br />

At the early phase of the process we were introduced to the<br />

works of the various artists. This was done to learn more about<br />

one another’s personalities, viewpoints and thought processes.<br />

Apart from sharing two selected works from our resumes, we<br />

also described what motivated our dance creation process,<br />

either arising from something personal or influenced by<br />

situations in our respective countries. This is because our life<br />

backgrounds would have a profound impact on our works.<br />

Participants also led warm-up exercises before we began<br />

discussions. On the first day Norhaizad shared techniques on<br />

how to be sensitive to space. On the second day I shared<br />

some movements from dangdut and on the third day, Amin<br />

shared motivations from movements which originated from a<br />

single point and on the fourth day Fauzi shared some<br />

stretching and massage exercises.<br />

For the process of the residency which was named Bahasa<br />

Koreografi, there were 2 mentors and three artists of Malay<br />

lineage from three different countries. The two mentors were<br />

Helly Minarti from Indonesia, a dance researcher and curator,<br />

and Alfian Sa’at, a theatremaker based in Singapore. The 4<br />

participating artists were Amin Farid, a choreographer and<br />

dance researcher from Singapore, Norhaizad Adam a<br />

choreographer and dance researcher from Singapore, Mohd<br />

Fauzi Amirudin, a choreographer and dancer from Kuala<br />

Lumpur and Ayu Permata Sari, a choreographer and dancer<br />

from Lampung, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.<br />

After getting acquainted with the works from each participant,<br />

we then started to focus on the works that we would present at<br />

Dance Nucleus. Each of us explained the source and<br />

inspiration for why we chose our concept. I explained about the<br />

work which has occupied me since early 2018, which was the<br />

embodiment of the movements of an audience that watches<br />

dangdut. I have been intrigued by the concept of ‘dancing from<br />

the heart’; many have mentioned the instruction to ‘dance from<br />

the heart’, but I often ask myself what does this entail exactly?<br />

Do I dance from the heart or is dancing for me a cerebral<br />

activity? Other than the phrase ‘dance from the heart’, I was<br />

also getting restless with the ‘standard’ (cliche and overused?)<br />

repertoire of movements within my own body. I was becoming<br />

bored with the dance body that I possessed, such that I<br />

needed some new input to add to my movement repertoire.<br />

These two ideas were reflected to me in the image of the<br />

dangdut audience, some of whom would dance without any<br />

seeming self-consciousness. Dangdut is a traditional pop form<br />

in Indonesia that is influenced by the musical cultures from the<br />

Arab, Indian and Malay worlds.<br />

37 38

Element#2<br />


The Process of<br />

‘Bahasa Koreografi’<br />

by Ayu Permata Sari<br />

The concept of my dangdut work was articulated through the term<br />

‘in-between space’. After hearing my explanation, Amin shared with<br />

me the concept of ‘liminality’, and ever since then I have been<br />

researching more on the term and its applications to my process.<br />

The work that I eventually presented was entitled ‘TubuhDang<br />

TubuhDut’ (DangBody DutBody), which had been presented at the<br />

Jejak tabi Festival in Yogyakarta in early July 2018. I tried to describe<br />

the structure and the staging of my work. In the beginning I used a<br />

video as a form of introduction, but many questions were raised,<br />

such as how important the video really was. Helly and Alfian<br />

emphasised the importance of the demographics of the audience<br />

that would be watching ‘TubuhDang TubuhDut’, the extent to which<br />

they could access dangdut as a form of shared cultural knowledge,<br />

and I was asked again my intention in creating the piece.<br />

On the 21-22 September I made my Dance Nucleus presentation; it<br />

was not just 4 of us who presented our works, but other artists as<br />

well. The presentation of ‘TubuhDang TubuhDut’ had the second slot<br />

on the schedule of 21 September 2018. It was a different experience<br />

from my initial showing in Yogyakarta. In Yogyakarta, around 90% of<br />

the audience was familiar with dangdut, such that the atmosphere<br />

was relaxed and people knew the context that was being addressed.<br />

In Singapore, the audience was less familiar with the dangdut form,<br />

so it was difficult to absorb the energy from the audience, even<br />

though there was at least someone who was swaying<br />

unselfconsciously to the music. The experience of the audience<br />

during the Dance Nucleus presentation was that they interpreted me<br />

as claiming my own personal space in my enjoyment of music and<br />

they were concerned about interrupting this world-abnegating<br />

self-absorption. Even though some of them did feel like joining in my<br />

interpretation of a state of ‘obliviousness’ to my surroundings. Daniel<br />

Kok felt that an important task of the work was to give the audience<br />

some context that I was exploring embodiment and mimicry, rather<br />

than merely presenting a ‘show’ for the audience.<br />

I had a week to prepare for the presentation on 21 to 22 September.<br />

From the 15-20 September the participants were left on their own to<br />

conduct independent research. In the beginning I used the studio for<br />

my rehearsals, but on the final day of our meeting, I decided to<br />

change my rehearsal space from the studio to public spaces such as<br />

the MRT, shopping malls, outdoor shopping areas such as the one at<br />

Bugis, on pedestrian walkways or intersections such as traffic light<br />

areas. Even though it was difficult to seek permission to dance in<br />

public from local security officers. At times I would dance without<br />

obtaining permission or in other words “play by ear”. But I would<br />

always survey the area beforehand, assessing whether it was safe for<br />

me to dance, as I was worried that I would be arrested by the police<br />

if they assumed that I was a lunatic. I eventually trained my<br />

confidence in dancing in public areas. The movements of dangdut<br />

audiences, often seen as embarrassing, often make me feel less<br />

confident, so I had to build up this confidence in public spaces.<br />

In addition to receiving great input for my work ‘TubuhDang TubuhDut’, I also also<br />

gained a lot of experience watching diverse presentations during this Dance<br />

Nucleus Residency. There were many forms of works which I had not seen before,<br />

and I enjoyed new experiences as both an audience member and as someone<br />

who is getting acquainted with the culture of art and dance-making in Singapore.<br />

Refer to page 36 for diagram<br />

39 40

Element#2<br />


The Process of<br />

‘Bahasa Koreografi’<br />

by Ayu Permata Sari<br />

About<br />


SARI<br />

From the Pepadun muslim tribe, born in Lampung<br />

(Sumatra), Ayu Permata Sari is the second child of<br />

Suherman and Zilhayah, with 3 other brothers.<br />

Ayu Permata Sari fell in loved with dance in<br />

primary school and joined in Cangget Budaya<br />

studio in North Lampung from 2000 until now.<br />

Between 2010 and 2014, Ayu moved to<br />

Yogyakarta to deepen her dance training at the<br />

Indonesian Art Institute of Yogyakarta Faculty of<br />

Performing Arts, Department of Dance Creation.<br />

She then continued with the Masters in Dance<br />

Creation programme in the same school from<br />

2014-2016. In 2016, she founded the Ayu<br />

Permata Dance Company in Yogyakarta<br />

establishing her own dance community in order to<br />

spur her creative drive. In 2017, Ayu was invited to<br />

an artist residency in Leuven (Belgium) for the<br />

Monsoon program in the Europhalia Festival. One<br />

of her works received the Bakti Service Charter<br />

Award at the Asia Technology Festival in Johor,<br />

Malaysia 2018.<br />

41 42

Element# 2<br />


Body Archive<br />

Body archive sebagai subjek utama dalam eksplorasi pencarian<br />

maksud dan identiti di sebalik tarian piring dan zapin. Di sini saya<br />

menghubungkan kedua-dua bentuk (form) ini dengan pergerakan<br />

silat. Memang secara dasar dan tunjang utama kedua bentuk tari<br />

ini adalah silat. Hal ini saya menghubungkan bentuk ini kepada 3<br />

serangkai. Tujuan utama dalam eksplorasi ini mencari garis<br />

BLURRED di antara 3 bentuk ini untuk di ketengahkan untuk<br />

memberi nafas baru kepada pergerakan itu. Pergerakan yang<br />

dimaksudkan adalah dari kosa kota gerak, artikulasi bentuk, idea,<br />

ruang dan image serta keseluruhan persembahan<br />

Bermulanya dengan apa yang hendak dieksplore, saya memilih<br />

karya stalemate iatu karya tradisi yang diberi nafas contemporary.<br />

Dalam penghasilan karya ini, saya terjemahkannya dalam bentuk<br />

yang lebih segar lebih kepada visual di dalam konteks<br />

persembahan. Apa yang saya maksudkan adalah dari segi kostum,<br />

props, artikulasi gerak dan juga penatacahayaan. Sebab yang<br />

kukuh kenapa saya memilih tari piring itu kerana ianya lebih dekat<br />

dngan saya kerana saya membesar dengan tari pring.<br />

oleh Fauzi Amiridin<br />

Dalam masa yang sama, saya cuba menghubungkan bentuk ini dengan zapin<br />

kerana bentuk ini mempunyai struktur yang boleh dikembangkan dan diberi nafas<br />

baru. Hal ini, kerana teras zapin dan tari piring itu sendiri adalah pergerakan asas<br />

silat.<br />

Apa yang cuba dirungkaikan dalam bentuk ini adalah mencari titik garis yang<br />

samar-samar dan BLURRED. Bagaimana ianya akan berubah bentuk yang lebih<br />

relevan dan terkini. Ianya lebih kepada INVESTIGATE the movement.<br />

Sepanjang proses diskusi dan perbincangan ianya bermula<br />

dengan topik iatu apakah menjadi practise based dan lineage<br />

pada sesorang performer/choreographer. Topik ini lebih kepada<br />

sharing session. Di dalam proses ini saya banyak memikirkan dan<br />

membicarakan tentang memori. Memori ini lebih kepada<br />

informasi tentang bagaimana saya bermula dan terlibat di dalam<br />

bidang seni. Selepas itu, ianya berkembang menjadi muscle<br />

memori di mana saya mengingati kesemua bentuk tari yang saya<br />

pelajari. Di dalam proses mencari identiti di dalam berkarya saya<br />

lebih memikirkan bagaimana pencarian gerak itu berlaku dalam<br />

bentuk improvisasi, komposisi dan koreografi. Bagi saya amat<br />

mudah dan tidak perlu berfikir tentang pergerakan apa yang<br />

hendak ditunjukkan tetapi lebih kepada imaginasi dan juga<br />

memori di dalam badan saya ketika bergerak. Apa yang saya<br />

sedar, proses research saya ini bermula dengan memori ingatan<br />

(tarikh bermula, lebih kepada informasi terdahulu) seterusnya<br />

kepada memori muscle( muscle memories) dan tujuan utama<br />

pada pencarian, eksplorasi adalah BODY ARCHIVE.<br />

Dalam perbincangan yang selanjutnya adalah, pelbagai<br />

persoalan yang telah diajukan. Seperti ekplorasi konsep, karya<br />

dan juga ideology itu ditahap mana? Apakah bahan<br />

rujukan(references) yang digunakan dalam research yang telah<br />

dibuat? Disini saya tertarik kepada memori performer. Di sini saya<br />

merujuk kepada diri sendiri begaimana tubuh badan(body<br />

archive, memory) saya sendiri telah mendalami (embodiement)<br />

setiap gaya tari yang dipelajari. Perkara ini menjadikan saya<br />

seorang yang peka (awareness) terhadap pergerakan yang<br />

dilakukan. Pergerakan yang dimaksudkan adalah ketika<br />

melakukan eksplorasi saya masih ingat gerak dasar tetapi saya<br />

memilih untuk bergerak di ruang blurred, di antara tradisi dan<br />

kontemporari. Dalam pada masa yang sama, saya cuba<br />

memikirkan identity saya sebagai seorang choreographer.<br />

Apakah peranan saya dalam mencari makna dan tujuan di ruang<br />

gap/ blurred itu sendiri.<br />

43 44

Element# 2<br />



by Fauzi Amiridin<br />

Seterusnya dengan perbincangan yang lebih mendalam apa yang<br />

perlu diutamakan. Apa yang dimaksudkan adalah dari segi IDEA,<br />

IMAGINASI (konsep, struktur persembahan) PROSES, eksplorasi<br />

kupasan dan terakhir PERSEMBAHAN, presentation. Bahagian<br />

yang sangat penting dan lebih kepada pwmbentukan sesebuah<br />

karya. Dengan adanya Guideline dan method seperti ini sejauh<br />

manakah tahap eksplorasi saya ketika ini. Dalam menjawab<br />

persoalan ini, saya juga terfikir identitiy saya sebagai seorang<br />

pengkarya. Tentunya dalam berkarya saya lebih memilh kepada<br />

pemerhatian, penilaian(observation) , eksplorasi gerak dan tools<br />

yang digunakan dalam koreografi. Di sini saya membuat satu<br />

guideline kepada diri sendiri aitu kosa kata gerak saya lebih kepada<br />

Grounded( lower level, lebih kepada membumi) bentuk artikulasi<br />

lebih mengalir, keras dan paling penting adalah pernafasan sebagai<br />

tunjang dalam proses ini. Saya mememilih memori saya sebagai<br />

panduan dan juga tubuh badan (Body Archive) iatu dari ritual,<br />

bentuk persembahan dan seterusnya ke bentuk yang lebih<br />

eksperimental.<br />

Di sini saya meletakkan beberapa KEYWORD dalam proses research<br />

saya iaitu,<br />

identiti<br />

tubuh badan<br />

memori<br />

Ruang, bentuk<br />

keseimbangan badan<br />

tari piring dan zapin serta silat<br />

negeri sembilan<br />

pernafasan<br />

Di dalam keyword ini lah saya telah membuat eksplorasi dengan<br />

memilih konsep BLURRED sebagai eksplorasi dari sudut apa<br />

sahaja.<br />

Selanjutnya memilih terus bahasa tubuh (body archive) sebagai<br />

rumah (home) dari segi konsepsual dalam proses niat mencari<br />

identity dan memberi nafas baru dalam sesuatu gerak tanpa lari<br />

dari tujuan asal. Sejauh mana eksplorasi tubuh badan (body) itu<br />

sendiri pasti akan ingat(memori) semua practise yang telah di<br />

embodiement. Dalam langkah seterusnya, mencari sesuatu yang<br />

fresh(segar) dari segi feeling dan movement di ruang<br />

persembahan.tersebut. bagaimana body akan react dengan task<br />

yang diberikan ketika di ruang persembahan. Selain itu juga, apa<br />

yang diakseskan kepada penonton dan diri sendiri juga penting<br />

bagaimana konsep yang Blurred itu dipersembahan kan. Disini<br />

kita akan melihat sejauh mana tubuh badan itu lari dari ruang yang<br />

selamat. (avoid from confort zone). Selain itu, kalau ingin bergerak<br />

dan berubah apa yang perlu difikirkan dengn memikirkan sesuatu<br />

yang ada tapi tiada. Cuba untuk break the boundaries tapi tidak<br />

sampai berubah. Dalam pada masa yang sama menghargai<br />

kesamaan dari segi ideology atau bentuk bersifat dalaman<br />

(pernafasan, artikulasi pergerakan). Seterusnya mencipta sesuatu<br />

garis di antara konsep blurred(pergerakan dan bentuk). Apakah<br />

yang akan terjadi jika eksplorasi itu lebih organik serta adanya<br />

inbalance dari segi kedua-dua konsep blurred ini akan membuat<br />

kan persembahan atau eksplorasi itu lebih fresh. Dan yang terakhir,<br />

memasukkan teknik chance yang lebih bersifat spontan, dalam<br />

presentation kali ini. Bagaimana konsep Blurred ini dimasukkan dari<br />

segi perlihatan dan pandangan, bentuk, ruang, bahasa, kuasa dan<br />

identity.<br />

45 46

Element# 2<br />


Pre-Presentasi<br />


by Fauzi Amiridin<br />

Semasa di dalam proses ini, saya tidak cuba mengingat keseluruhan tari piring itu<br />

sendiri. Ianya lebih kepada struktur dan koreografi di atas kertas dan juga<br />

imaginasi.<br />

Post presentasi<br />

Banyak feedback yang saya dapat di dalam presentasi kali ini dan banyak<br />

persoalan yang saya dapat. Hal ini membuatkan saya berfikir untuk melanjutkan<br />

lagi research saya tentang tari piring dan juga body archive.<br />

Semua ini lebih kepada perasaan dan juga persediaan tubuh badan dalam<br />

melakukan persembahan. Pada ketika ini juga saya tidak banyak menumpukan<br />

kepada piring itu sendiri.<br />

Presentation<br />

Ianya bermula dengan pergerakan pergelangan tangan dimana pada bahagian ini<br />

merupakan penghubung kepada piring dan tubuh.<br />

Pada ketika ini, memori lama tentang tari piring berlegar di<br />

dalam fikiran saya. Ianya lebih memikirkan keywords yang telah<br />

kita bincang semasa di dalam studio. Dalam masa yang sama<br />

juga, saya mula memegang dan cuba bereksplorasi dengan<br />

piring. Semasa prose situ berlaku saya dapati, skill dan juga<br />

pergerakan saya agak terbatas dan tidak lancar. Ianya<br />

menampakkan saya tidak tahu apa-apa tentang pergerakan<br />

tari piring. Tetapi lama-kelamaan, dengan fikiran yang<br />

berimaginasi tentang memori dan kinestetik memori dan<br />

muscle memori tentang tari piring, akhirnya saya<br />

mengambalikan skill dan juga melancarkan pergerakan piring di<br />

tubuh saya. Dalam masa itu juga, saya mengingatkan kembali<br />

tentang kesakitan dan kepayahan ketika mempelajari tarian ini..<br />

saya mengambil semiotic perasaan itu kepada pergerakan<br />

dengan menghempaskan tubuh ke lantai berulang-ulang kali.<br />

Phrasa yang terakhir di dalam presentasi kali ini adalah saya<br />

mengawal dan bermain dengan piring dengan olahan badan<br />

serta apungan dan lambungan piring. Di sini saya menciptakan<br />

pergerakan yang lebih kepada BLURRED dan peersoalan<br />

kepada tubuh badan saya sendiri.<br />

47 48

Element# 2<br />


Body Archive<br />

Body archive was the main subject in my exploration of the<br />

meaning and identity behind the dance forms of tari piring (saucer<br />

dance originating from the Minangkabau people) and zapin (a<br />

Malay dance form with Arab influences). I linked these two forms<br />

with the movements of silat (a martial arts form). Fundamentally,<br />

the main basis for these two dances is silat. My main objective in<br />

this exploration is to find the ‘blurred’ space between these three<br />

forms and to breathe new life into those movements. The<br />

‘movements’ referred to include movement vocabulary,<br />

articulation of form, idea, space and image as well as the totality<br />

of the performance.<br />

The starting point of my exploration was one of my works called<br />

‘stalemate’ which was a traditional dance piece that was given a<br />

contemporary treatment. In creating this work, I interpreted tari<br />

piring using a more unconventional approach by paying close<br />

attention to its visual aspects. Specifically in terms of the<br />

costumes, props, movement articulation and also lighting design.<br />

But the crux of why I chose to base my dance on tari piring is<br />

because I grew up and was trained in that particular form.<br />

by Fauzi Amiridin<br />

At the same time, I tried to connect tari piring with zapin because they had<br />

structures that could be elaborated and creatively reinterpreted. This is because<br />

the core movements in zapin and tari piring are also the basic movements in silat.<br />

What I am trying to discover are the points and lines which are vague and ‘blurred’.<br />

And how these can create forms that are more relevant and contemporary.<br />

As part of the process of discussion, we began with the topic of<br />

what it meant to be practise-based and also the lineage attached<br />

to a performer/choreographer. These topics were explored during<br />

our sharing sessions. During the process I reflected a lot on the<br />

issue of memory. These memories are related to the process by<br />

which I first become involved in the arts. And then it evolved into<br />

discussions on muscle memory, in which I recalled the various<br />

forms of dance that I have studied. In the process of finding my<br />

identity through my work, I thought about how my search for<br />

movements forms took the form of improvisations, composition<br />

and choreography. Personally, I don’t over-think about what<br />

movements to show when I move, but am guided more by my<br />

imagination and also the memories in my body. What I realised<br />

was that my research process began with memory (the starting<br />

date of my encounter with the dance) and then on to muscle<br />

memories and then narrowed down to the main objective of my<br />

search, which is the exploration of a ‘body archive’.<br />

In our subsequent discussions, various questions were raised,<br />

like how far we were into our respective explorations into the<br />

concepts and ideologies informing our works. What were the<br />

reference materials that we had used for our research? I was<br />

especially drawn to the notion of the performer’s memories. This<br />

is specifically with reference to my own self and how my own<br />

body (as an archive) has recorded, and stored for retrieval, every<br />

dance form that I have learnt. This has made me more aware of<br />

each movement that I produce. These movements are based on<br />

those which I remember but which I choose to reproduce in a<br />

‘blurred’ space, between the space of tradition and the space of<br />

the contemporary. At the same time, I tried to think of my own<br />

identity as a choreographer. What is my role in finding the<br />

meaning and purpose in that ‘blurred’ gap?<br />

49 50

Element# 2<br />


Pre-Presentation<br />


by Fauzi Amiridin<br />

During the process, I did not try to memorise the entirety of the tari piring dance. I<br />

relied more on its structure and choreography on paper as well as my own<br />

imagination. All of this was geared towards the feelings of my body and the body<br />

preparing for the performance. At that time I did not pay much attention to the<br />

saucers.<br />

Post Presentation<br />

There was a lot of feedback that I received from this presentation and many other<br />

questions as well. This has made me think more deeply on how I should continue<br />

in my research on the tari piring and also the body as an archive.<br />

Presentation<br />

I began with wrist movements as the wrists are important points of connection and<br />

articulation between the saucer and the body.<br />

AbouT<br />


At this time, old memories about the tari piring played in my<br />

mind. They gravitated towards the keywords that we had<br />

discussed in the studio. While this was happening, I began to<br />

hold the saucers and began my exploration with them. During<br />

the process I found that my skill and movements were quite<br />

limited and not smooth. It seemed as if I did not know anything<br />

about tari piring. But gradually, as I thought about and imagined<br />

the memories—kinesthetic and muscle memories—attached to<br />

the tari piring, eventually my aptitude returned to me and I was<br />

able to execute the movements with greater ease and fluency.<br />

At the same time, I recalled the pain and difficulties I had faced<br />

while learning the dance. I turned that emotion into a sign—in<br />

which I smashed my body against the floor repeatedly. The final<br />

phase in this presentation this time was when I tried to control<br />

and play with my body’s balance while juggling with and<br />

throwing the saucers. Here I created movements that tried to<br />

conform to the concept of ‘blurred’ while asking questions<br />

about my own body.<br />

Fauzi is currently a principal dancer at ASK Dance<br />

Company (ADC). His achievements include representing<br />

Malaysia at the World Championship of Performing Arts<br />

(WCOPA) at Los Angeles in 2011 and won 3 gold<br />

medals. In 2014, he also won the BOH Cameronian Arts<br />

Award for “Best Choreographer” in a mixed bill for his<br />

work 2 by 2 produced by ADC. Fauzi produced and<br />

choreographed his production Pit –Stop, an evening of<br />

his own choreography in 2015. In 2016, Fauzi was<br />

selected to represent Malaysia as part of top Japanese<br />

choreographer Un Yamada’s double bill showcasing her<br />

professional troupe and rising Malaysian dancers. They<br />

trained rigorously in Japan for One Piece; and in 2017,<br />

he was invited again to join Un Yamada Dance Co. to<br />

perform her piece A City Without Seasons at Tokyo.<br />

Recently, he took part in International Young<br />

Choreographer Project 2017 (IYCP) in Taiwan this year<br />

and performed in 3 Faces for the Vietnam International<br />

Dance Festival 2017. In 2017, he was selected as one of<br />

the Top 10 Cultural Dancers by Top 10 Magazine.<br />

51 52

Element#2<br />


Lenggang Sebagai Permulaan<br />

sebuah Penelitian dan<br />

Praktek Tarian Lintas GendeR<br />

Lenggang<br />

Saya ingin tahu bagaimana<br />

frasa gerakan seperti pejalan kaki ini,<br />

dapat dengan segera memberikan informasi<br />

genre, jenis kelamin, kebangsaan, sejarah, tempat.<br />

Ada sesuatu yang lebih dari yang terjadi<br />

di tengah-tengah cairnya ayunan lengan,<br />

pejalan kaki mengangkat kaki-kaki mereka,<br />

artikulasi jari-jari yang rumit,<br />

goyangan halus dan pengendalian gerakan-gerakan pinggul.<br />

Pertukaran berbagai ekspresi antara<br />

pasangan pria dan wanita<br />

kegembiraan bertemu seorang<br />

mitra potensial seumur hidup,<br />

pertemuan pertama yang berangsur-angsur berubah<br />

saat-saat yang tidak menyenangkan menjadi kisah yang<br />

sudah dikenal<br />

dalam pacaran di dunia Melayu.<br />

Refer to page x for original text in English.<br />

oleh Soultari Amin Farid<br />

1<br />

Bagian-bagian dari makalah ini telah diadaptasi dari penelitian Pembimbing (Mohd Farid 2016) dan PhD (yang akan<br />

datang).<br />

1<br />

Saya mengambil residensi dengan niat ambisius untuk<br />

menyelidiki Lenggang, sebuah frasa gerakan khas yang<br />

ditemukan dalam berbagai genre tari Melayu seperti Asli,<br />

Inang dan Masri. Keingintahuan saya tentang topik itu<br />

muncul ketika saya berbincang dengan salah satu junior tari<br />

saya tentang Lenggang. Ketika mencoba untuk menemukan<br />

satu kata bahasa Inggris yang setara dengan Lenggang,<br />

saya menyadari bahwa kami tidak dapat melakukannya.<br />

Mengapa? Karena dalam gerakan kontralateral "seperti<br />

berjalan" ini, terkadang dalam kasus Asli, frase gerakan yang<br />

penuh dengan simbolisme yang mengomplekskan dan<br />

mentransendensikan tujuan fungsionalnya hanya<br />

representasi belaka dari "berjalan".<br />

Di tengah cairnya gerakan berbagai anggota tubuh, dan ritmik pengangkatan kaki<br />

pada ketukan perkusi drum tradisional Melayu, terdapat konvensi yang melekat<br />

pada gender, kebangsaan, sopan santun dan tabu. Oleh karena itu, menurut<br />

pendapat saya, penyederhanaan frasa gerakan ke dalam kata-kata itu sendiri<br />

adalah suatu tindakan yang tidak tepat.<br />

Saya memiliki pertanyaan yang lebih banyak seperti bagaimana cara kita<br />

membedakan Lenggang Malaysia, Indonesia dan Singapura? Apa yang membuat<br />

Lenggang sangat berbeda? Jika menggunakan contoh-contoh dari Era Emas<br />

perfilman Melayu, bagaimana perkembangan Lenggang saat ini?<br />

Berbekal dengan rasa keingintahuan ini, saya berdiskusi dengan sesama residen,<br />

Haizad, Fauzi dan Ayu, serta pembimbing kami, Helly Minarti dan Alfian Saat,<br />

tentang topik ini. Melalui diskusi intensif tentang praktik bentuk-bentuk,<br />

mempertanyakan identitas, proses transmisi dan peran para gatekeeper,<br />

sangatlah menarik untuk melihat bagaimana kerangka pikir saya dan pertanyaan<br />

awal saya pun berubah. Saya memutuskan untuk merenungkan sedikit lebih<br />

keras tentang pengalaman saya sebagai penari di dunia seni lokal.<br />

53 54

Element#2<br />


Lenggang Sebagai<br />

Permulaan sebuah<br />

Penelitian dan Praktek<br />

oleh Soultari Amin Farid<br />

Saya bertanya-tanya tentang diri saya yang unik dalam pementasan Lenggang<br />

terutama karena saya berpendapat bahwa sifat feminin saya memberikan akses<br />

dan kompetensi untuk melakukan variasi gender dari "Lenggang". Pada saat yang<br />

sama melalui pandangan sebagai penari dan koreografer dalam dunia seni tari<br />

Melayu Singapura, saya sangat mengetahui konvensi dan tabu tentang bagaimana<br />

Lenggang seharusnya dilakukan. Isu gender menjadi penting karena konvensi<br />

gender yang kaku dan narasi heteronormatif tentang pacaran antara remaja pria<br />

dan wanita.<br />

Saya menunjukkan beberapa contoh dari buku-buku panduan tari yang diterbitkan<br />

pada awal 60-an tentang tarian sosial Melayu dan tarian pasangan yang<br />

dikoreografikan. Di dalam buku tersebut, notasi dari ikon sepatu ballroom<br />

menunjukkan tempat di mana kaki harus bergerak tetapi tidak ada indikasi tentang<br />

bagaimana anggota tubuh bagian atas seharusnya diletakkan. Namun, deskripsi<br />

gerakan tangan dan lengan ditulis sebagai teks.<br />

Salah satu buku petunjuk berjudul “Chara Menari Ronggeng<br />

dan Mak Inang” (1965), memberikan contoh ini. Di dalam<br />

buku itu tertulis bahwa,<br />

Diharapkan bahwa Lenggang wanita dapat menunjukkan<br />

kualitas seorang perempuan Melayu yang ideal yang sopan,<br />

rapuh dan berhati-hati dari setiap gerakannya. Dia<br />

mengambil ruang yang lebih kecil sehingga gerakannya<br />

tidak boleh besar (tidak sebesar rekan prianya), dia tidak<br />

melihat langsung ke arah rekan prianya tetapi dapat<br />

memperlihatkan tatapan sesekali - sebagian besar matanya<br />

diarahkan ke bawah. Pinggul merupakan asetnya yang<br />

paling penting, dia mengendalikannya dan melakukan<br />

manuver sesuka hati - sejauh mana gerakan pinggulnya<br />

akan memberikan gambaran yang dikenakan padanya.<br />

Gerakan pinggul halus menggambarkan wanita suci, lain<br />

kata gerakan kuat yang dapat memberi kesan seorang<br />

Lenggang pria mengabil ruang yang lebih besar dengan<br />

ayunan lengan yang lebih lebar dan gerakan telapak kaki<br />

yang agresif. Dia memusatkan perhatian pada rekan<br />

wanitanya yang memberikan kesan bahwa rekan wanita<br />

tersebut adalah ‘apel dari matanya’ (wanita yang<br />

dicintainya). Gerakannya berkisar dari gerakan tajam yang<br />

ditemukan dalam Silat, seni bela diri Melayu, dan berubah<br />

menjadi cair ketika ia mengkomunikasikan kasih sayangnya<br />

kepada rekan wanitanya melalui gerakan-gerakan dekoratif<br />

yang menggambarkan mekarnya bunga.<br />

“Saat menari tolong jangan biarkan tangan menjadi kaku.<br />

Menari berarti bergerak dengan seluruh tubuh dengan<br />

anggun. Jadi ketika kita bergerak maju dengan kaki kanan,<br />

tangan kanan harus bergoyang ke belakang, seolah berjalan.<br />

Tangan kiri kemudian harus bergoyang ke depan, ketika kaki<br />

berada di depan seperti yang disebutkan. Saat bergoyang<br />

tangan, bahu harus mengikuti arah tangan yang bergoyang.<br />

Setiap kali kita mengayunkan tangan kita, pastikan tangan<br />

ditekuk sedikit. Jangan membuatnya terlalu lurus, sehingga<br />

2<br />

tidak terlihat kaku.” (2)<br />

Selain itu, disarankan juga bahwa, “langkah-langkah para<br />

wanita mirip dengan para pria. Satu-satunya perbedaan<br />

adalah ketika langkah awal pria berada di sebelah kanan,<br />

para wanita akan mundur ke belakang. Wanita perlu<br />

3<br />

melakukan tarian dengan anggun”.<br />

2<br />

“Waktu menari jangan-lah di-biarkan tangan kita kaku sahaja. Menari bererti bergerak dengan keadaan seluruh tuboh<br />

kita lemah-gemalai. Jadi apabila kita maju sa-langkah ka-hadapan dengan kaki kanan kita pula hendaklah di-hayunkan<br />

ka-belakang, sa-akan2 kita berjalan. Tangan kiri pula hendak-lah di-hayunkan ka-hadapan menurut langkah kaki<br />

kanan ka-hadapan tadi. Waktu menghayunkan tangan, bahu kita hendak-lah ikut ka-arah tangan yang di-hayunkan.<br />

Apabila kita menghayunkan tangan biar-lah tangan kita di-bengkokkan sadikit. Jangan terlampau lurus, supaya tidak<br />

kelihatan kaku”<br />

3<br />

“Gerak langkah bagi penari perempuan pun sama juga dengan gerak langkah untok lelaki. Hanya yang berlainan ia-lah<br />

apabila lelaki memajukan langkah pertama ka-hadapan dengan kaki kanan, penari perempuan mundor dengan kaki<br />

kiri sa-langkah ka-belakang. Hendak-nya penari perempuan melakukan tarian ini dengan lemah lembut”(2)<br />

55 56

Element#2<br />


Lenggang Sebagai<br />

Permulaan sebuah<br />

Penelitian dan Praktek<br />

oleh Soultari Amin Farid<br />

Ethnochoreolog, Mohd Anis Mohd Nor (1993) menulis,<br />

“Dalam semua jenis tarian sosial Melayu penari laki-laki tidak diizinkan menari<br />

seperti perempuan. Keindahan tari Melayu menempatkan penari laki-laki sebagai<br />

pelindung dan pendukung penari perempuan. Meskipun tangan mereka tidak<br />

saling bersentuhan, pasangan menari memberi kesan bahwa ada pemahaman<br />

melalui eksekusi gerakan dalam tarian. Kompetensi penari laki-laki terletak pada<br />

gaya tingkah laku yang bangga dan gagah dan tidak meniru keanggunan wanita ...<br />

Langkah-langkah dan gerakan pergelangan tangan penari pria diperbesar dengan<br />

kedua tangan terbuka lebar ke sisi tubuh dan bergoyang seolah mencoba<br />

mempertahankan ruang dansanya agar tidak diterobos oleh para pesaingnya”. (33)<br />

4<br />

Saya menggunakan kata-kata ilmiah Mohd Nor untuk memikirkan apa artinya<br />

melakukan Lenggang secara holistik (bukan hanya konsentrasi gerakan kaki) dan<br />

pada saat yang sama mengkritisi bentuk dengan pengalaman unik saya sendiri<br />

dalam melakukan Lenggang. Saya bertanya apakah deskripsi Mohd Nor tentang<br />

kinerja gender-kaku dalam tarian sosial dan seni tari Melayu menyediakan ruang<br />

bagi seseorang yang tidak selalu setuju dengan penerapan tingkah laku gender<br />

yang kaku di tubuh.<br />

Saya mungkin setuju dengan peran gender yang kaku ketika pasangan menari<br />

bersama-sama tetapi dalam kasus seorang penari laki-laki diperbolehkan menari<br />

solo (yang sebenarnya bukan konvensi dalam tarian Melayu karena sebagian besar<br />

tarian dilakukan secara kolektif), bukan seharusnya tidak ada konsesi untuk inklusi<br />

gerakan yang dapat dianggap "perempuan" tanpa harus dianggap sebagai tabu?<br />

Selain itu, jika tindakan seperti itu dilihat sebagai pelanggaran, lalu di mana kah kita<br />

menempatkan tradisi pertunjukan yang didasarkan pada seni kinerja dan tata rias<br />

lintas gender?<br />

4<br />

“Dalam kesemua jenis tari pergaulan Melayu penari lelaki pula tidak dibolehkan menari seperti seorang wanita.<br />

Keanggunan tari Melayu telah meletakkan mertabat penari lelaki sabagai pelindung serta pendamping penari wanita.<br />

Walaupun masing-masing tangan tidak bersentuhan dengan bahagian tubuh penari saingan, kedua-kedua penari<br />

seolah-olah kelihatan bersefahaman dalam perlaksanaaan gerak dalam tari. Kejaguhan penari lelaki terletak kepada<br />

gaya kelakuan yang megah dan jantan dan tidak yang meniru keayuan gemulai wanita. … Langkah dan lengangan<br />

tangan penari lelaki sentiasa menguak dengan membuka lebar-lebar kedua tangan ke samping tubuh beserta hayunan<br />

seolah-olah mengepung ruang tarinya dari di cerebohi oleh lawan…”<br />

57 58

Element#2<br />


Lenggang Sebagai<br />

Permulaan sebuah<br />

Penelitian dan Praktek<br />

oleh Soultari Amin Farid<br />

Cross-dressing dalam sebuah pertunjukan adalah hal umum<br />

dalam tarian dan teater dunia Melayu. Pertunjukan komunitas<br />

kerabat seperti komunitas etnis di Jawa, memiliki contoh cairnya<br />

gender. Ethnomusicolog, Christina Sunardi, memberikan contoh<br />

historis dari pertunjukan-pertunjukan ini di awal Indonesia dalam<br />

bukunya, “Stunning Males and Powerful Female: Gender and<br />

Tradition in East Javanese Dance”, daftar kebiasaan laki-laki yang<br />

melakukan peran perempuan di Ludruk, teater Jawa Timur yang<br />

populer; laki-laki yang memperankan perempuan dalam tarian<br />

Banyuwangi abad ke-19 yang disebut Seblang; tradisi laki-laki<br />

yang menampilkan tarian perempuan Jawa Tengah dari abad<br />

Saya melihat peran saya sebagai provokator penting untuk terus<br />

mengguncang kaidah-kaidah gender yang kaku yang telah<br />

menghambat pemahaman inklusif terhadap bentuk-bentuk seni<br />

yang mendukung pertunjukan dan pakaian lintas gender. Oleh<br />

karena itu dengan adanya penggabungan bahan arsip dan<br />

penyelidikan, adalah relevan bagi saya untuk terus bekerja dan<br />

mengeksplorasi batas-batas yang membatasi apresiasi kita untuk<br />

gagasan-gagasan alternatif dan cara kerja yang “berbeda”.<br />

Hal ini merupakan teka-teki yang rumit. Saya memunculkan isu<br />

cross-dressing karena ini adalah tindakan yang melibatkan<br />

perwujudan karakter / gaya gerakan lawan jenis (penari laki-laki<br />

yang mewujudkan karakter/tingkah laku wanita atau penari<br />

wanita yang mewujudkan karakter/tingkah laku laki-laki).<br />

Indonesia dan Malaysia telah menghasilkan kepribadian laki-laki<br />

yang dikenal karena tindakan tari lintas gender dan/ atau perilaku<br />

kefemininan mereka: Didik Nini Thowok; Rianto; dan Rosnan<br />

Abdul Rahman.<br />

Setelah residensi intensif tersebut, saya sempat memikirkan tentang materi<br />

penelitian yang saya peroleh untuk penelitian ini. Saya merefleksikan mengapa<br />

saya sangat fokus pada Lenggang, terutama ketika menari solo, tidak relevan bagi<br />

saya untuk menggunakan frase gerakan ketika saya berimprovisasi. Saya<br />

menyadari segera setelah itu saya menggunakan Lenggang sebagai objek analisis<br />

untuk memikirkan apa artinya bagi tubuh Unik untuk mewujudkan<br />

peran/pertunjukan gender yang kaku dan bagaimana sifat tubuh Unik dapat<br />

menantang batas-batas ini. Saya melihat pembelajaran Lenggang sebagai<br />

pengetahuan dasar yang diajarkan kepada penari amatir dan dalam pembelajaran<br />

frasa gerakan, proses transmisi diisi dengan pengetahuan tentang norma-norma<br />

gender dalam tarian.<br />

Sumber/Referensi<br />

Hamzah, Daud. “Chara Menari Ronggeng dan Mak Inang [Ways to Dance the<br />

Ronggeng and Mak Inang]”, Penerbitan Federal, 1965.<br />

Mohd Farid, Muhd Noramin. “Serampang Dua Belas: Discourses of Identity in the<br />

Contemporary Practice of a Malay Courtship Dance in Sumatra.” Master Thesis,<br />

Roehampton University, 2016.<br />

Mohd Farid, Muhd Noramin. “Tarian Melayu: Negotiating Social Memory and<br />

Constructing a Community through the Nation-State of Singapore.” PhD Thesis,<br />

Royal Holloway, University of London, Forthcoming.<br />

Mohd Nor, Mohd Anis. “Lenggang dan liuk dalam tari pergaulan Melayu.” Tirai<br />

Panggung, vol. 1, 1993.<br />

Sunardi, Christina. “Stunning Males and Powerful Females: Gender and Tradition<br />

in East Javanese Dance.” U of Illinois P, 2015.<br />

59 60

Element#2<br />


The Lenggang as Entry into<br />

Cross-Gender Performance<br />

1<br />

Research and Practice<br />

The Lenggang<br />

I was curious how<br />

this pedestrian-like movement phrase,<br />

immediately provides information of<br />

genre, gender, nationality, history, place.<br />

There is something more that is happening<br />

amidst the fluid swinging of arms,<br />

the pedestrian lifting of feet,<br />

the intricate articulation of fingers,<br />

the subtle swaying and controlling of hip motions.<br />

The expressions exchanged between<br />

the male and female partner<br />

the excitement of meeting a<br />

potential life-time partner,<br />

the first meeting that gradually turns<br />

bashful moments into a familiar story<br />

of courtship in the Malay world.<br />

by Soultari Amin Farid<br />

I came into the residency with the ambitious intention of<br />

investigating about the Lenggang, a typical movement<br />

phrase found in various Malay dance genres such as the<br />

Asli, Inang and Masri. My curiosity on the subject came<br />

about when I had a conversation with one of my dance<br />

juniors about the Lenggang. While attempting to find a good<br />

one-word English equivalent to the Lenggang, I realise that<br />

we were unable to do so. Why? Because inherent in this<br />

“walking-like” contralateral motion, at times lateral in the<br />

case of Asli, it is a movement phrase that is steeped with<br />

symbolisms that complexifies and transcends its functional<br />

purpose of just a mere dancing representation of “walking”.<br />

Amidst the fluid movement of limbs, and the rhythmic lifting of feet according to<br />

the percussive beats of the Malay traditional drum, there lies inherent conventions<br />

of gender, nationality, decorum and the taboo. Hence to simplify the movement<br />

phrase into the economy of words is in itself, I argue, an act of violence.<br />

I had larger questions such as how do we differentiate the Malaysian, Indonesian<br />

and Singaporean Lenggang? What makes the Lenggang very different? If drawing<br />

upon examples from the Golden Era of Malay film, how has the Lenggang evolved<br />

today?<br />

Armed with these loaded curiosities, I shared them with my fellow residents,<br />

Haizad, Fauzi and Ayu, as well as our mentors, Helly Minarti and Alfian Saat, about<br />

this topic. Through the intensive discussions about the practice of our forms,<br />

questioning identity, transmission processes and the role of gatekeepers, it was<br />

fascinating to see how my frame of mind and initial question has changed. I<br />

decided to ponder a little harder about my experience as a dancer in the local art<br />

world.<br />

1<br />

Parts of this paper has been adapted from my Master (Mohd Farid 2016) and PhD research (Forthcoming).<br />

61 62

Element#2<br />


The Lenggang as Entry<br />

into Cross-Gender<br />

Performance Research<br />

and Practice<br />

by Soultari Amin Farid<br />

I questioned about my queer self in performing the Lenggang<br />

especially since I contend that my effeminate nature gives me<br />

access and competency to perform the gendered variations<br />

of the “Lenggang”. At the same time via an emic lens as a<br />

dancer and choreographer within the Singapore Malay<br />

dance art world, I am very informed about the conventions<br />

and taboos of how the Lenggang should and should not be<br />

performed. The issue of gender takes prominence because<br />

of its gender-rigid conventions and the heteronormative<br />

narrative of the courtship between an adolescent man and<br />

woman.<br />

It is expected that the female Lenggang demonstrates the<br />

qualities of an ideal Malay woman who is demure, fragile and<br />

cautious of her every movement. She consumes smaller<br />

spaces thus her movement should not be big, i.e. not as big<br />

as her male counterpart, she does not look directly at him<br />

but offers occasional glances of interest -- most times her<br />

eyes are directed downwards. Her hips are her most<br />

important asset, she controls it and manoeuvres it at will –<br />

the extent of her hip motion provides labels to be imposed<br />

on her. The subtle hip motions depict a chaste woman as<br />

oppose to vigorous motions which may give the impression<br />

of a woman who is wild and flirtatious.<br />

I showed examples later from dance manual books published in the early 60s of<br />

Malay social dances and choreographed couple dances. Within the book, notation<br />

of ballroom shoe icons showed where the feet should move but there was no<br />

indication about how the upper limbs should be. Instead the descriptions of hand<br />

and arms gestures are written as text.<br />

One of the manuals entitled “Chara Menari Ronggeng dan<br />

Mak Inang” (1965), provides this example. In the book it is<br />

written that,<br />

“when dancing please do not allow hands to be stiff.<br />

Dancing means to move with the whole body gracefully. So<br />

when we move forward with right feet, the right hand must<br />

sway to the back, as if walking. The left then must sway to<br />

the front, when the feet is in front as mentioned. When<br />

swaying hands, the shoulder must follow the direction of the<br />

hand that is swaying. Whenever we sway our hands, ensure<br />

2<br />

that the hands are bent a little bit. Do not make it too straight,<br />

2<br />

so that it does not look stiff.” (2)<br />

In addition, it is advised too that, “the steps of the ladies are<br />

similar to that of the gentlemen. The only difference is when<br />

the gentlemen’s initial step forward is on the right, the ladies<br />

will step left backwards. It is necessary that the ladies<br />

3<br />

perform the dance gracefully” (2).<br />

The male Lenggang is executed big with wider swinging<br />

arms and rigorous feet motions. He focuses is vision on his<br />

female counterpart giving the impression that she is the<br />

apple of his eye. His movements ranges from the sharp<br />

motions found in Silat, Malay martial arts, and turns fluid<br />

when he communicates his affections to her through floral<br />

gestures depicting the blossoming of flowers.<br />

2<br />

“Waktu menari jangan-lah di-biarkan tangan kita kaku sahaja. Menari bererti bergerak dengan keadaan seluruh tuboh<br />

kita lemah-gemalai. Jadi apabila kita maju sa-langkah ka-hadapan dengan kaki kanan kita pula hendaklah di-hayunkan<br />

ka-belakang, sa-akan2 kita berjalan. Tangan kiri pula hendak-lah di-hayunkan ka-hadapan menurut langkah kaki<br />

kanan ka-hadapan tadi. Waktu menghayunkan tangan, bahu kita hendak-lah ikut ka-arah tangan yang di-hayunkan.<br />

Apabila kita menghayunkan tangan biar-lah tangan kita di-bengkokkan sadikit. Jangan terlampau lurus, supaya tidak<br />

kelihatan kaku” (2)<br />

3<br />

“Gerak langkah bagi penari perempuan pun sama juga dengan gerak langkah untok lelaki. Hanya yang berlainan ia-lah<br />

apabila lelaki memajukan langkah pertama ka-hadapan dengan kaki kanan, penari perempuan mundor dengan kaki<br />

kiri sa-langkah ka-belakang. Hendak-nya penari perempuan melakukan tarian ini dengan lemah lembut” (2)<br />

63 64

Element#2<br />


Lenggang Sebagai<br />

Permulaan sebuah<br />

Penelitian dan Praktek<br />

oleh Soultari Amin Farid<br />

Ethnochoreolog, Mohd Anis Mohd Nor (1993) menulis,<br />

“in all types of social Malay dance the male dancer is not permitted to dance like a<br />

woman. The beauty of Malay dance posits the male dancer as the protector and<br />

supporter of the female dancer. Even though their hands don’t touch each other,<br />

the dancing couple gives the impression that there is an understanding through the<br />

execution of movement in dance. The competency of the male dancer lies in the<br />

style of mannerism that is proud and manly and does not mimic the gracefulness<br />

of the woman… The steps and wrist motions of the male dancer is enlarged with<br />

the both hands opened widely to the sides of the body and swaying as if trying to<br />

4<br />

defend his dance space from being invaded upon by his competitors” (33).<br />

Cross-dressing in performance is a common occurrence in the<br />

dance and theatre of the Malay world. Performances of kindred<br />

communities such as the ethnic communities in Java, have gender<br />

fluid examples. Ethnomusicologist, Christina Sunardi, provides a<br />

historical sampling of these performances in early Indonesia in her<br />

book, “Stunning Males and Powerful Females: Gender and<br />

Tradition in East Javanese Dance”, listing the customs of males<br />

performing female roles in Ludruk, an East Javanese popular<br />

theatre; males personating females in a 19th century Banyuwangi<br />

dance called Seblang; the tradition of males performing central<br />

Javanese female court dances from the 18th century till the 20th<br />

century; and the possibility of females performing male characters<br />

in the masked dance of Cirebon, just to name a few (20-21).<br />

I use Mohd Nor’s scholarly words to think through what it means to perform the<br />

Lenggang in holistic manner (rather than just concentration of foot movements) and<br />

at same time critiquing the form with my own embodied queer experience of<br />

enacting the Lenggang. I ask whether Mohd Nor’s description of the gender-rigid<br />

performance in social and art dance of Malay dancing provides space for someone<br />

who does not necessarily agree with the imposition of rigid gender mannerisms on<br />

the body.<br />

I may agree to the rigid gender roles when a couple dances together but in cases<br />

when a male dancer is allowed to dance solo (which is actually not a convention in<br />

Malay dance since most dances are performed collectively), should not there be<br />

concessions for the inclusions of movements which may be deemed “female”<br />

without having it be relegated as taboo? In addition, If such an act is seen as a<br />

transgression, then where do we place performance traditions which predicated on<br />

art of cross-gender performance and dressing?<br />

4<br />

“Dalam kesemua jenis tari pergaulan Melayu penari lelaki pula tidak dibolehkan menari seperti seorang wanita.<br />

Keanggunan tari Melayu telah meletakkan mertabat penari lelaki sabagai pelindung serta pendamping penari wanita.<br />

Walaupun masing-masing tangan tidak bersentuhan dengan bahagian tubuh penari saingan, kedua-kedua penari<br />

seolah-olah kelihatan bersefahaman dalam perlaksanaaan gerak dalam tari. Kejaguhan penari lelaki terletak kepada<br />

gaya kelakuan yang megah dan jantan dan tidak yang meniru keayuan gemulai wanita. … Langkah dan lengangan<br />

tangan penari lelaki sentiasa menguak dengan membuka lebar-lebar kedua tangan ke samping tubuh beserta hayunan<br />

seolah-olah mengepung ruang tarinya dari di cerebohi oleh lawan…” (33)<br />

This is definitely a complex conundrum. I bring up the issue of<br />

cross-dressing because it is an act which entails the embodying of<br />

a character/movement style of the opposite sex (male dancer<br />

embodying a female character/mannerism or female dancer<br />

embodying a male character/mannerism). Indonesia and Malaysia<br />

have produced male personalities who are known for their<br />

cross-gender and/or effeminate dance acts: Didik Nini Thowok;<br />

Rianto; and Rosnan Abdul Rahman.<br />

After the intensive residency, I had time to think about the research<br />

materials I have acquired for this investigation. I critically reflected<br />

on why I am very focus on the Lenggang, especially when in<br />

solo-dancing, it is not pertinent for me to employ the movement<br />

phrase when I am improvising. I realized soon after that I was using<br />

the Lenggang as an object of analysis to think through what it<br />

means for the Queer body to embody rigid gender<br />

roles/performance and how the nature of the Queer body may<br />

challenge these boundaries. I see the learning of the Lenggang as<br />

foundational knowledge taught to amateur dancers and in the<br />

learning of the movement phrase, the transmission process is filled<br />

with knowledge about the gender norms in the dance.<br />

65 66

Element#2<br />


Lenggang Sebagai<br />

Permulaan sebuah<br />

Penelitian dan Praktek<br />

oleh Soultari Amin Farid<br />

Saya melihat peran saya sebagai provokator penting untuk terus<br />

mengguncang kaidah-kaidah gender yang kaku yang telah<br />

menghambat pemahaman inklusif terhadap bentuk-bentuk seni<br />

yang mendukung pertunjukan dan pakaian lintas gender. Oleh<br />

karena itu dengan adanya penggabungan bahan arsip dan<br />

penyelidikan, adalah relevan bagi saya untuk terus bekerja dan<br />

mengeksplorasi batas-batas yang membatasi apresiasi kita untuk<br />

gagasan-gagasan alternatif dan cara kerja yang “berbeda”.<br />

Sumber/Referensi<br />

Hamzah, Daud. “Chara Menari Ronggeng dan Mak Inang [Ways to Dance the<br />

Ronggeng and Mak Inang]”, Penerbitan Federal, 1965.<br />

Mohd Farid, Muhd Noramin. “Serampang Dua Belas: Discourses of Identity in the<br />

Contemporary Practice of a Malay Courtship Dance in Sumatra.” Master Thesis,<br />

Roehampton University, 2016.<br />

Mohd Farid, Muhd Noramin. “Tarian Melayu: Negotiating Social Memory and<br />

Constructing a Community through the Nation-State of Singapore.” PhD Thesis,<br />

Royal Holloway, University of London, Forthcoming.<br />

Mohd Nor, Mohd Anis. “Lenggang dan liuk dalam tari pergaulan Melayu.” Tirai<br />

Panggung, vol. 1, 1993.<br />

Sunardi, Christina. “Stunning Males and Powerful Females: Gender and Tradition<br />

in East Javanese Dance.” U of Illinois P, 2015.<br />

About<br />

Soultari<br />

Amin Farid<br />

Soultari Amin Farid is a choreographer, arts educator<br />

and researcher from Singapore. He is currently based in<br />

London where he is a PhD candidate in Theatre, Drama<br />

and Dance studies at the prestigious Royal Holloway,<br />

University of London, UK. His recent choreographic<br />

credits in UK & Europe include: Bhumi (Edinburgh<br />

Fringe Festival, UK); (Mis)fits (Footprints Festival, UK);<br />

Maa, What If… : The Mother in Tagore’s Poems<br />

(Commissioned by Mora Ferenc Muzeum, Hungary)<br />

and Unity in Diversity (University of Szeged, Hungary).<br />

Some of his notable works as Artistic Director in<br />

Singapore include:Touch: Identite (Collaboration with<br />

Sonic Artist, James Lye, and Hip Hop Artist, Fasihah);<br />

Mother Earth: Diminishing (Commissioned by Temasek<br />

Arts Centre, Temasek Polytechnic); GAIA: Pudar<br />

(Supported by Malay Heritage Foundation & the Malay<br />

Heritage Centre); and Padi Kuning [Yellow Paddy]<br />

(Supported by National Arts Council Polytechnic<br />

Initiative). Amin’s academic investigations into<br />

postcolonial theory and anthropology provides the<br />

impetus for him to produce artistic works which<br />

constantly questions and challenge the normative<br />

notions of class, ethnicity, identity and gender. Amin<br />

believes that young arts practitioners must take<br />

ownership of their cultural traditions but must also<br />

become leaders in creating artistic works that are<br />

innovative and relevant to an evolving landscape.<br />

67 68

Element# 2<br />


Apa kegunaan<br />

diri saya?<br />

Apa kegunaan diri saya? Apa yang saya wakili?<br />

Apa sesungguhnya arti tradisional dan kontemporer bagi saya?<br />

oleh Norhaizad Adam<br />

Dari tahun 2004 dan permulaan saya sebagai seorang penari Melayu Singapura di<br />

Azpirasi, saya sering mengingat berlatih di sebuah studio di pusat komunitas<br />

setempat. Saya ingat mengalami dilema dengan harga diri saya. Seringkali haus<br />

untuk mencari pengakuan dari ahli-ahli tarian Melayu. Selalu aktif mendengarkan<br />

sebagian besar kekhawatiran yang bias dan menyerahkan diri pada panggilan<br />

tugas yang tidak masuk akal semua atas nama ‘keikhlasan’, yang diterjemahkan<br />

sebagai ketulusan.<br />

Setelah saya membedah karya-karya saya dan desain koreografinya, istilah<br />

'ditengah' sering muncul sebagai motif yang berulang.Hal itu secara sengaja<br />

membentuk bagian dari praktik artistik saya. Saya menantang diri saya sendiri<br />

untuk mengatasi masalah tersebut menggunakan pandangan yang kuat dan tak<br />

berdaya. Saya mulai mempertanyakan berbagai aspek pasangan seperti<br />

tradisional - kontemporer, panggung - di tempat, pemain - penonton, salah –<br />

benar.<br />

Ketidaknyamanan kadangkala diperlukan. Jadi, saya menggunakan rasa<br />

ketidaknyamanan itu. Saya menggunakan pengalaman saya yang menyenangkan<br />

dan juga penderitaan untuk mengumpulkan kata kunci visual dalam membentuk<br />

praktik artistik saya. Saya bangga dalam mendengarkan dan mempercayai naluri<br />

saya. Saya tidak tertarik untuk memberontak, mematahkan norma-norma dan<br />

menjadi kontroversial. Saya tidak ingin karya-karya saya tampil sebagai sarana<br />

yang mementingkan diri sendiri karena saya adalah pribadi yang tertutup. Jadi,<br />

sebagai strategi yang berbeda, saya menghubungkan ide-ide saya dengan isu-isu<br />

di Singapura.<br />

Kredit foto: Bernie Ng<br />

Karena mudahnya dipengaruhi and tanpa disadari, saya<br />

sendiri telah menciptakan 'beban' sebagai seorang penari<br />

tradisional Melayu. Ini terbukti dari tanggapan-tanggapan<br />

yang berbeda terhadap karya saya: dorongan, kehati-hatian,<br />

perasaan khawatir, motivasi, dan kesalahpahaman dari<br />

perspektif murni tradisi dan budaya Melayu.<br />

69 70

Element# 2<br />


Apa kegunaan diri saya?<br />

oleh Norhaizad Adam<br />

Kata Kunci Visual yang direkam dari Silat<br />

Duduk dengan fasilitator dan seniman di<br />

ELEMENT#2: Residensi Bahasa Koreografi:<br />

● Drama sosial, proses sosialisasi<br />

● Tubuh sosialis<br />

● Transit dan transmisi<br />

● Melayu Transnasional, kritik nasionalisme modern<br />

● Konsep rumah<br />

● Bagaimana saya memiliki tubuh kontemporer ini?<br />

● Hak bumiputra<br />

● Teks, Extratext, Paratext, dan Metatext<br />

● Performativitas yang ironis<br />

● Demokrat dan kehendak Mayoritas<br />

● Hak minoritas juga penting<br />

● Budaya Pop Melayu Singapura<br />

● Negosiasi tarian sosial atau pertemuan sosial Melayu<br />

● Kebisingan suara Asiatic: manajemen, penjajah, gatekeepers, dll.<br />

● Ketegangan antara Mayoritas dan Minoritas<br />

● Koreografi sebagai latihan kritis<br />

● Diaspora memiliki kekuatan, ekonomi dan uang<br />

● Nasionalisme telah mempengaruhi apa itu bahasa Melayu?<br />

● Translokal ketimbangTransnasional<br />

● Tanggung jawab artis tradisional lebih berat daripada selebriti populer<br />

● Kompleksitas minoritas<br />

● Daniel: Apa hubungan menari dengan Anda sekarang?<br />

● Ming Poon: Seberapa jauh Anda bersedia pergi? Temukan Instrumentalisasi<br />

Anda<br />

● Orientalisme<br />

● Normalisasi<br />

● Identitas minoritas<br />

● Tubuh Melayu sebagai tubuh simpati<br />

Pasal 152<br />

Untuk residensi ELEMENT#2 di Dance Nucleus, firasat saya<br />

mengatakan bahwa Pasal 152 dari Konstitusi Singapura akan menjadi<br />

alat yang diperlukan untuk menyusun proses penemuan dan ide saya.<br />

Dalam perspektif saya sendiri, artikel ini dimaksudkan untuk melindungi<br />

hak-hak kaum minoritas di Singapura dan mengedepankan 'posisi<br />

khusus orang Melayu'.<br />

Saya ingin sekali membayangkan keadaan yang sebenarnya dan<br />

mungkin mengungkap klausa tersembunyi yang keluar melalui<br />

celah-celah yang ada. Saya ingin tahu apakah kata-kata yang dimuat<br />

seperti ‘yang berkecukupan’, ‘yang berkekurangan’, ‘mayoritas’ dan<br />

‘minoritas’ dapat muncul dalam percakapan sehari-hari orang-orang<br />

Singapura dan konteks sosial, ekonomi dan politik Singapura saat ini.<br />

Dari sudut pandang saya, saya mempertanyakan tentang diaspora<br />

Melayu di zaman modern.<br />

Bagaimana nasionalisme dan tradisionalisme selama pemerintahan<br />

kolonial mempengaruhi apa artinya menjadi orang Melayu?<br />

Apa artinya menajdi seorang Melayu di Singapura?<br />

Apa artinya menjadi seorang Melayu di Malaysia?<br />

Apa artinya menjadi seorang Melayu di Indonesia?<br />

Apa kekhawatiran dan kelalaian minoritas Melayu di Singapura?<br />

Saya membayangkan ulang Artikel 152 dengan mengubah skala<br />

minoritas menurut demografi sosial, politik dan ekonomi di Singapura.<br />

Kemudian, saya menyadari bahwa kekhawatiran dapat secara langsung<br />

mempengaruhi saya. Namun, ada ketegangan antara mayoritas dan<br />

minoritas sebagai seniman Anak Melayu Singapura. Saya memetakan<br />

pemikiran saya tentang perbandingan status minoritas yang berbeda.<br />

71 72

Element# 2<br />


Apa kegunaan diri saya?<br />

oleh Norhaizad Adam<br />

Tabel 1. Tingkatan Organisasi Sosial<br />

MAKRO<br />

MESO<br />

MIKRO<br />

Dunia<br />

Regional<br />

Negara<br />

Provinsi/kota<br />

Komunitas Wilayah/kecamatan<br />

Desa<br />

Rumah tangga/keluarga<br />

Individu<br />

Pasal 152 yang sebenarnya diambil dari Konstitusi. Dimulai pada<br />

tanggal 9 Agustus 1965<br />

Minoritas dan posisi khusus orang Melayu<br />

152. - (1) Ini akan menjadi tanggung jawab Pemerintah untuk<br />

senantiasa peduli dengan kepentingan ras dan agama minoritas di<br />

Singapura.<br />

(2) Pemerintah akan menjalankan fungsinya untuk mengakui<br />

posisi khusus orang Melayu, yang merupakan penduduk asli<br />

Singapura, dan karenanya akan menjadi tanggung jawab<br />

Pemerintah untuk melindungi, menjaga, mendukung, membina<br />

dan mempromosikan politik, pendidikan, agama, ekonomi, sosial<br />

dan budaya minat dan bahasa Melayu.<br />

Berdasarkan penelitian tingkat organisasi sosial, saya menggambarkan 3 tingkat<br />

status minoritas:<br />

1) Tingkat Makro – Dalam Dunia & Benua: Orang Melayu Singapura vs Melayu di<br />

Kepulauan Melayu<br />

2) Tingkat Meso – Dalam Komunitas: Warga Melayu vs Warga Singapura<br />

3) Tingkat Mikro – Dalam Rumah Tangga / Keluarga dan Individu: Melayu<br />

Kontemporer vs. Melayu Tradisionalis<br />

Konsep Rumah (Rumahku)<br />

Naluri pertama saya adalah berfokus pada level Mikro. Saya membuat analogi<br />

dengan Pasal 152 ketika saya mengetahui bahwa saya mengendalikan percobaan<br />

head-heart. Mempertanyakan relevansi saya sebagai minoritas dalam komunitas<br />

minoritas. Saya merasa terhibur oleh penjabaran ironis ini.<br />

Artikel 152 versi Norhaizad Adam<br />

Minoritas dan posisi khusus penari seniman kontemporer<br />

Melayu<br />

152. - (1) Akan menjadi tanggung jawab komunitas tari Melayu<br />

untuk secara terus menerus memperhatikan kepentingan<br />

minoritas kontemporer di Singapura.<br />

(2) Komunitas tari Melayu harus menjalankan fungsinya untuk<br />

mengakui posisi khusus dari praktisi kontemporer Melayu, yang<br />

merupakan penduduk asli Singapura, dan karenanya akan<br />

menjadi tanggung jawab komunitas tari Melayu untuk melindungi,<br />

menjaga, mendukung, menumbuhkan dan mempromosikan ide<br />

mereka, tesis, koreografi, latihan, gerakan kosakata dan bahasa<br />

dan penampilan mereka.<br />

73 74

Element# 2<br />


Apa kegunaan diri saya?<br />

oleh Norhaizad Adam<br />

Dengan menggunakan komunitas saya sebagai landasan<br />

kerangka kerja koreografi saya, saya akan mengamati secara<br />

dekat pertemuan sosial Singapura khususnya budaya<br />

seremonial dan komersial. Saya menganggap ini sebagai<br />

diaspora Melayu dalam konteks bangsa, dan diaspora memiliki<br />

kekuatan, ekonomi dan penganut. Saya tertarik untuk<br />

menempatkan tubuh kontemporer Melayu saya dalam proses<br />

sosialisasi ini dan memperlakukannya sebagai dramaturgi<br />

sosial.<br />

Bagaimana saya menggunakan tubuh kontemporer Melayu ini?<br />

75 76

Element# 2<br />


what is the point of me?<br />

by Norhaizad Adam<br />

What is the<br />

point of me?<br />

by Norhaizad Adam<br />

Imperfection is necessary. Thus, I feed on insecurities. I use<br />

my pleasant and afflicted experiences to collect visual<br />

keywords to shape my artistic practice. I take pride in<br />

listening and trusting my instinct. It is not in my interest to be<br />

rebellious, break the boundaries and to be controversial. I do<br />

not desire for my works to appear self-indulgent as I am a<br />

private person. So, as a divergent strategy, I relate my<br />

ideations with the affairs in Singapura.<br />

What is the point of me? What do I represent?<br />

What does the traditional and the contemporary really mean to me?<br />

From 2004 and in my humble beginnings as a Singapore Malay dancer in Azpirasi,<br />

I fondly recall rehearsing in a studio in a local community centre. I remember<br />

experiencing dilemma on self-worth. Often hungry to seek affirmation from Malay<br />

dance gurus. Always actively listening to mostly biased concerns and giving in to<br />

senseless call of duty all in the name of ‘keikhlasan’, translated as sincerity.<br />

Impressionable and unconscious, I myself had created my<br />

‘baggage’ as a Malay traditional dancer. This is evident from<br />

listening to disparate responses to my works: encouragement,<br />

caution, misgivings, motivation and misconceptions from a<br />

purist perspective of Malay traditions and culture.<br />

After I dissected my works and its choreography design, the<br />

term ‘in-between’ often crops up as a recurring motive.<br />

Threading this along, it purposively forms a part of my artistic<br />

practice. I challenge myself to zoom in on issues using<br />

powerful and powerless lenses. I begin to question binaries<br />

such as traditional - contemporary, stage - on-site, performers<br />

- audiences, wrong - right<br />

Photo credit: Bernie Ng<br />

77 78

Element# 2<br />


what is the point of me?<br />

by Norhaizad Adam<br />

Visual Keywords recorded from Silat Duduk<br />

with facilitators and artists at the ELEMENT#2:<br />

Bahasa Koreografi Residency:<br />

● Social dramaturgy, process of socialization<br />

● The socialist body<br />

● Transit and transmission<br />

● Transnational Malay, critics of modern nationalism<br />

● Concept of home<br />

● How do I own this contemporary body?<br />

● Bumiputra rights<br />

● Text, Extratext, Paratext and Metatext<br />

● Performativity of the ironic<br />

● Democratic and Majority will<br />

● Minority rights is important too<br />

● Singapore Malay Pop culture<br />

● Negotiation of Malay social dance or social gathering<br />

● Noise of the Asiatic soundscape: management, coloniser, gatekeepers etc.<br />

● Tension between Majority and Minority<br />

● Choreography as critical practice<br />

● Diaspora has power, economy and money<br />

● Nationalism has affected what Malay is?<br />

● Translocal rather than Transnational<br />

● Responsibility of traditional artist is heavier than popular celebrities<br />

● Minority complex<br />

● Daniel: What’s the relationship of dance to you now?<br />

● Ming Poon: How far are you willing to go? Find your Instrumentalization<br />

● Orientalism<br />

● Normalisation<br />

● Minority identity<br />

● Malay body as sympathy body<br />

Article 152<br />

For the ELEMENT#2 residency at Dance Nucleus, I knew by<br />

instinct that Article 152 of the Singapore Constitution will be a<br />

necessary tool for the crafting of my discovery and ideation<br />

process. In my perspective, this article is intended to protect the<br />

rights of minority races within Singapore and puts forth ‘special<br />

position of the Malays’.<br />

I am curious to imagine in between the lines and maybe uncover<br />

a hidden clause that seeps through cracks in the wall. I wonder if<br />

loaded words such as ‘privileged’, ‘underprivileged’, ‘majority’<br />

and ‘minority’ can come out in an everyday Singaporean<br />

conversation and Singapore’s current social, economic and<br />

political context.<br />

From my standpoint, I question about the Malay diaspora in modern times.<br />

How nationalism and traditionalism during colonial ruling affects what being a Malay is?<br />

What does being a Malay in Singapore mean?<br />

What does being Malay in Malaysia mean?<br />

What does being a Malay in Indonesia mean?<br />

What are the concerns and negligence of Malay minorities in Singapore?<br />

I reimagined Article 152 by changing the scale of minority<br />

according to social, political and economic demographics in<br />

Singapore. Then, I realize that the concerns may directly affect<br />

me. However, there is an air of tension between majority and<br />

minority relevance as an Anak Melayu Singaporean artist. I map<br />

out my thoughts on the comparisons of different minority status.<br />

79 80

Element# 2<br />


Table 1. Levels of Social Organisation<br />

what is the point of me?<br />

by Norhaizad Adam<br />

The real Article 152 extracted from the Constitution. Commencement<br />

9th August 1965<br />

MACRO<br />

MESO<br />

MICRO<br />

World<br />

Region<br />

Nation<br />

Province/city<br />

Community District/town<br />

Village/suburb<br />

Household/family<br />

Individual<br />

Minorities and special position of Malays<br />

152.— (1) It shall be the responsibility of the Government<br />

constantly to care for the interests of the racial and religious<br />

minorities in Singapore.<br />

(2) The Government shall exercise its functions in such manner as<br />

to recognise the special position of the Malays, who are the<br />

indigenous people of Singapore, and accordingly it shall be the<br />

responsibility of the Government to protect, safeguard, support,<br />

foster and promote their political, educational, religious,<br />

economic, social and cultural interests and the Malay language.<br />

The Norhaizad Adam version of Article 152<br />

Based on studies of levels of social organisation, I visualise 3 levels of minority<br />

statuses:<br />

1) Macro level – Within World & Continent: Singaporean Malays vs Malays in the<br />

Malay Archipelago<br />

2) Meso level – Within Community: Malay Citizens vs Singapore Citizens<br />

3) Micro level – Within Household / Family and Individual: Contemporary Malays<br />

vs Malay Traditionalists<br />

Concept of Home (Rumahku)<br />

Minorities and special position of Malays contemporary<br />

dance artist<br />

152.— (1) It shall be the responsibility of the Malay dance<br />

community constantly to care for the interests of the<br />

contemporary minorities in Singapore.<br />

(2) The Malay dance community shall exercise its functions in such<br />

manner as to recognise the special position of the Malay<br />

contemporary practitioners, who are the indigenous people of<br />

Singapore, and accordingly it shall be the responsibility of the<br />

Malay dance community to protect, safeguard, support, foster<br />

and promote their ideation, thesis, choreography, rehearsals,<br />

movement vocabulary and language and their performances.<br />

My first instinct is to focus on the Micro level. I created an analogue to Article 152<br />

as I find comfort in knowing that I am in control of a head-heart experiment.<br />

Questioning my relevance of being a minority in a minority community. I feel amused<br />

by this ironic juxtaposition.<br />

81 82

Element# 2<br />


what is the point of me?<br />

by Norhaizad Adam<br />

By using my community as the foundation of my choreographic<br />

framework, I will observe closely at Singapore social gatherings<br />

particularly the ceremonial and commercialised culture. I<br />

consider this as a Malay diaspora in a nation context, and<br />

diaspora has power, economy and followers. I am interested to<br />

place my Malay contemporary body in this process of<br />

socialization and treat it as a social dramaturgy.<br />

How do I own this Malay contemporary body?<br />

AbouT<br />


Norhaizad Adam is a dance artist based in Singapore.<br />

Currently, he is the Artistic Director of P7:1SMA (Prisma),<br />

a contemporary dance company rooted in the wisdom<br />

and embodiment of Malay philosophy, tradition and<br />

histories. Trained as a Traditional Malay dancer and now<br />

exploring contemporary ideations. His curiosity leads<br />

him to explore the equilibrium between traditional and<br />

contemporary, yet relating to his urbane living. He<br />

desires to create works that connect and questions the<br />

complexity of feelings. Investigating the essence of<br />

human conditions and interventions. Norhaizad is an<br />

avid coffee drinker, fond of aromas and believes in the<br />

philosophy of balance.<br />

83 84

SCOPE is Dance Nucleus’ open platform for artists’ informal<br />

presentations. Associate members of Dance Nucleus as well as other<br />

invited guests conduct discussions, workshops, jams, readings,<br />

screenings, open studio and work-in-progress showings as ways to<br />

articulate their practices and to foster discusive exchange.<br />

In <strong>FUSE#2</strong>, three projects that were presented in SCOPE#3 are<br />

featured:<br />

Ming Poon (Berlin/Singapore) was invited to a residency at Dance<br />

Nucleus as a collaborative effort with the Nanyang Academy of Fine<br />

Arts (NAFA). Ming choreographed a new work with the students of<br />

NAFA for this year’s da:ns Festival at the Esplanade. ‘Unison’, the<br />

resultant work based in the iconic image of the Tank Man who<br />

protested at the Tiananmen Incident, was presented at SCOPE#3 as<br />

an exposition of Ming’s creative proposal and pre-rehearsals<br />

preparations, while in <strong>FUSE#2</strong>, he provides here some reflections and<br />

notes post-premiere.<br />

SCOPE # 3<br />

ABOUT<br />

SCOPE#3 is Shanice Stanislaus’ (Singapore) second presentation<br />

at Dance Nucleus this year. Over 2018, she has been developing ‘La<br />

Mariposa Borracha’, a community performance project that sees her<br />

collaborating with caregivers of people with terminal illness through<br />

clowning as an interactive and movement practice, in order to<br />

approach the idea of the ‘sick body’ in performance. In <strong>FUSE#2</strong>, she<br />

documents her working process for the year, as she prepares to go<br />

further with the project in 2019.<br />

Lee Mun Wai (Giessen/Singapore) and Lee Ren Xin (Kuala<br />

Lumpur/Singapore) reconvened to further develop ‘There is<br />

Speficifisfety’ for SCOPE#3, a work that began in 2017 before Mun<br />

Wai left for his post-graduate studies in Giessen, Germany. The<br />

updated iteration of the performance work also saw a touring<br />

presentation to the Five Arts Centre in Kuala Lumpur. Here, Mun Wai<br />

and Ren Xin share their individual notes and reflections on their<br />

collaborative encounter.<br />

85 86

SCOPE#3<br />

about ‘Unison’<br />

by Ming Poon<br />

Unison<br />

● A dance term commonly used to describe a group of people<br />

dancing together with the same movements and moving at the<br />

exact same time.<br />

● A choreographic device that organizes human bodies to move in<br />

synchrony.<br />

The research looked at the body politics of the individuals within a unison.<br />

These questions form the basis of the research.<br />

1.<br />

2.<br />

3.<br />

4.<br />

What do we have to do in order to be in unison?<br />

Is dancing in unison a force of unity, or is it a form of<br />

conformity?<br />

Are we empowered by being in unison or merely hiding<br />

behind it, abdicating our responsibility?<br />

When unison turns into forced homogeneity, how do we<br />

create space for individual voices and alternative existence?<br />

Footage of the Tank Man at Tiananmen Square in 1989.<br />

For this research, I worked with 16 dance students from NAFA.<br />

The movements used in the unison were based on the footage of<br />

the Tank Man at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Other than my<br />

interest in its choreographic composition, I chose the Tank Man<br />

because for me, his actions embodied the quintessential conflict<br />

between the individual body and the collective body, expressed<br />

through the refusal of an individual to stay within the collective and<br />

the disruption he caused to the hegemonic power. The idea was<br />

to use the Tank Man as a starting point for us to look at the political<br />

potential contained within the individual body. In addition to that,<br />

in executing the movements in unison, the students were also<br />

confronted with the body politics involved in the choreographic<br />

device of unison and the role they play in their participation of it. In<br />

a society like Singapore, where social unity, cohesion and order<br />

are prioritized over other social values and are meticulously<br />

engineered and maintained, I wanted to find out the students’<br />

relationship to these values and where were their personal voices.<br />

I employed unison as a base from which to start a discourse about<br />

the wider socio-political context that the students lived in.<br />

As the research progressed, it became clear to me what the students’ relationship<br />

to being in unison was, whether as a choreographic device or a social apparatus.<br />

So I decided to shape the end performance in such a way that it portrayed the<br />

students’s state of mind and their predicament. Through the experience of these<br />

young people, I hope the performance would capture a glimpse of the zeitgeist of<br />

Singapore in 2018.<br />

87 88

SCOPE#3<br />

About ‘Unison’ by Ming Poon<br />

Notes From The Residency<br />

Day 3: Embodying the Tank Man.<br />

Our 3rd day trying to embody the movements of the Tank Man.<br />

Other than the political context, we are also studying his<br />

movements from a choreographic angle. After watching the<br />

footage repeatedly, I have come to the conclusion that it is an<br />

example of very good choreographic composition. It has very<br />

nuanced musicality, makes great use of level and space, and<br />

plays with contrasts, tension and suspense very effectively. The<br />

Tank Man's movements show very clear intention, economy of<br />

effort, groundedness and a precise yet unpredictable musicality.<br />

Day 4: Social reality has entered into the rehearsal space.<br />

Today I received news that the footage of the Tank Man cannot<br />

be used in the performance. The reason being that some<br />

audience members might be offended by it.* This new<br />

development brings the research questions closer to home for<br />

the students.<br />

● What do we have to sacrifice in order to stay in unison (as a society)?<br />

● Are we empowered through our unity or made to conform?<br />

● What are the consequences if we fail to stay in unison with the rest of the society?<br />

● Most importantly, where do we go from here?<br />

The students were asked to think about their role as artists/dancers and how they<br />

would like to respond to the situation.<br />

* Note: A few days later, the school further clarifies that the use of the footage may<br />

cause problems for the students from China.<br />

Photo credit: Ming Poon<br />

89 90

SCOPE#3<br />

About ‘Unison’<br />

by Ming Poon<br />

Day 7: Disempowering of movements.<br />

Dancers learning to move in sync to texts, instead of the<br />

Tank Man video. The text describes the physical actions of<br />

the Tank Man. The image of a group of dancers moving in<br />

sync to texts gives a different meaning. It now feels more<br />

militant and mechanical, because the human intention<br />

behind the actions is no longer there. They are reduced to<br />

movements for movements' sake. The power of the Tank<br />

Man's movements has been uprooted, appropriated and<br />

tamed, so that they are safe for public viewing and<br />

consumption.<br />

Day 12: Tank Man or the Tank.<br />

I ended the residency by asking the students to what purpose<br />

they intend to put their training and knowledge and what roles<br />

they play as dancers.<br />

When the time comes, will you become the Tank Man or the<br />

Tank?<br />

Thank you all for your commitment and believing in the process.<br />

It is interesting to see how dancers are co-opted to be agents through which<br />

movements become disempowered in this situation.<br />

Day 10: Tank Man is closer to home than we think.<br />

I brought up the on-going court cases of both Seelan Palay<br />

and Jolovan Wham for discussion. It made the students<br />

realize that the theme of the Tank Man is still relevant and<br />

happening today. While the tank does not take on any<br />

physical form, it is not less present and felt.<br />

We discussed these questions:<br />

● Are you aware of the power under which you operate as artists?<br />

● How do you as artists and individuals negotiate with this power?<br />

● What can you do to change the situation?<br />

The students had no answers to the last 2 questions. They have never thought or<br />

been asked to think about them. The sense they gave was a mixture of frustration<br />

and resignation. It became very obvious that they were badly equipped to deal<br />

with these issues as future dancers and dance artists.<br />

About<br />

Ming Poon<br />

Ming began his career as professional dancer in 1993,<br />

and started to develop his choreographic practice in<br />

2010. He sees movement not only as a physical<br />

activity, but also as a social and political one. To move<br />

is to relate and to strive for change. His approach to<br />

dance is one where there are no dancers, only people<br />

in a constant process of negotiation as they reach out,<br />

converge, meet and separate. His performances<br />

explore themes of vulnerability, intimacy, peripherality<br />

and failures. They are interactive in design and often<br />

require the collaboration of the audience or performers.<br />

By interrogating and shifting the politics of their body,<br />

he hopes to bring about an embodied and empathic<br />

relationship to his works.<br />

www.mingapur.de<br />

91 92

SCOPE #3<br />


BORRACHA - the process<br />

by Shanice Stanislaus<br />

Do you stop dancing when you become ill?<br />

‘La Mariposa Borracha’ began as an investigation on the theme of the exhausted<br />

body. This a particularly relevant question to me both as someone who loves to<br />

dance while experiencing the impact of sickness taking a toll on my physical body.<br />

In the past three years, this issue struck me hard after losing dear friends and after<br />

watching them struggle with illness both physically and mentally. I then became<br />

curious to explore the effect of illness on the body, the relationship, almost like a<br />

dance-like battle with sickness and the fight to get better through movement and<br />

laughter.<br />

Of course, I didn’t want this to be a work where we focus on the<br />

negative aspects of sickness instead I wanted to present the<br />

journey, the ups and downs, the surprises, the dissonance and the<br />

emotional roller coaster that often accompanies an illness. Sick<br />

people don’t need to be reminded that they are sick and hence, I<br />

wanted this to be an experience, almost like a painkiller. This<br />

concept came about when I was in a clown class and was in<br />

immense pain but found laughter to relieve or distract some of that<br />

pain away. Supported by research showing the effectiveness of<br />

humor in pain relief, the art of clown became an important guiding<br />

principle for the work. The work would also not function without<br />

humor and a little party because often with suffering, I found it<br />

important to embrace the celebratory aspects in life.<br />

Photo credit: Shanice Stanislaus<br />

Le Jeu as a research tool<br />

My research in Dance Nucleus focused on how do we find the greatest pleasure<br />

in the way we move despite the experiences of illness or exposure to illness<br />

(caregivers, watching others suffer with illness) that may influence the way we<br />

move.<br />

‘Le Jeu’ (The game) became an important philosophy and tool in exploring this<br />

concept. This is often used as a foundation for clown work and training, created<br />

by clown master Philippe Gaulier. In this work, I was interested in using the<br />

principles of Le Jeu to explore creating choreography. In the Gaulier mode of<br />

thinking, pleasure can only be achieved by playing and the only way to play is by<br />

creating a game. The game has a set of rules in it in which, we find ourselves<br />

abiding by it, breaking it or creating new rules. In the first half of the year, we<br />

explored the creation of games that could help us generate movements,<br />

emotions and eventually choreography to explore this journey of illness.<br />

93 94

SCOPE #3<br />

LA MARIPOSA BORRACHA -The process<br />

by Shanice Stanislaus<br />

What became fun, simple games that would usually induce much laughter would<br />

be flipped to explore an emotional scenario/a situation in an illness setting. The<br />

lightness we had with ‘Le Jeu’ allowed us to safely tap into unpacking the emotional<br />

complexities with discussing and researching illness as a journey allowing us<br />

always the opportunity to return to the laughter that begins the games.<br />

Exploring with the local community<br />

After researching on our own in a group of 4 with individuals who<br />

experience illness and individuals who are caregivers, we decided to<br />

take the investigation to local communities who may better add to<br />

our curiosities.<br />

We worked with the Singapore Association of Mental Health (Youth<br />

Reach) and Caregivers Alliance using Le Jeu as a tool to explore the<br />

journey of illness along, how that translates into the body and the<br />

dissonance of illness in their own lives. It was an amazing time<br />

getting to know these individuals, playing and dancing with them.<br />

Through the games, we uncovered how one can move with great<br />

pleasure despite a physical and mental illness or even the limitations<br />

of having to always stay home to be a caregiver, especially as for<br />

some of these individuals it was their first time dancing.<br />

In terms of exploring the journey of illness the stages of the Kubler Ross model was<br />

often brought up. The Kübler-Ross’ model was based off her work with terminally<br />

ill patients and has received much criticism in the years since. Mainly, because<br />

people studying her model mistakenly believed this is the specific order in which<br />

people grieve and that all people go through all stages. Kübler-Ross now notes that<br />

these stages are not linear and some people may not experience any of them. Yet<br />

and still, others might only undergo two stages rather than all five, one stage, three<br />

stages, etc.<br />

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance were the common<br />

emotional states that were brought up by almost all the participants through the<br />

games played. However, they would also bring up various other emotional states in<br />

their journey of illness that were never explored by Kubler Ross and also rarely<br />

acknowledged in many academic and formal conversations of illness in institutions.<br />

These states of Playfulness, Encouragement, False Hope, Emotional Disconnect<br />

(numbness) and the Celebration. It was only through these games we managed to<br />

uncover the emotional significance of these stages that were nuances to be added<br />

to the current Kubler Ross stages.<br />

These new discoveries added to the work helping us reframe this journey of illness<br />

we would present exploring the dissonances between the phases or the<br />

development of the phases in a real-life scenario when one has to deal with illness<br />

in their own personal lives.<br />

Photo credit: Shanice Stanislaus<br />

95 96

SCOPE #3<br />

LA MARIPOSA BORRACHA -The process<br />

by Shanice Stanislaus<br />

Choreographic research in slum<br />

communities<br />

After the first two years of writing and performing this work, I<br />

wanted to take this investigation outside of my own personal<br />

experience. I wanted to find the communities where this work<br />

would resonate and present a narrative that belonged to a<br />

larger community. In the past year, I have been very lucky that<br />

the work has taken me to communities of individuals who<br />

experience physical illnesses, mental illnesses and their<br />

caregivers whose narratives have greatly informed the<br />

narrative of the work.<br />

The research of the work also took me to the poorest of<br />

communities internationally, from the Kibera slum in Nairobi,<br />

Kenya to the Battambang slums of Cambodia where illness<br />

was the everyday narrative of the individuals who live<br />

amongst unpiped sewage and piles of loose trash, with a<br />

constant exposure to cholera, typhoid, malaria and various<br />

It was in my time in these communities in the past three years, I found the power of<br />

dance and community to keep everyone going despite the harshest of conditions in<br />

their poverty.<br />

Music and dance was the one tool that kept these<br />

communities together. In the past three years, I studied each<br />

community intensely and found the similarity between both<br />

slum communities in different parts of the world, they all<br />

celebrated life in music and dance despite the harshness that<br />

their environment brought, even in its widespread illness.<br />

Photo credit: Shanice Stanislaus<br />

97 98

SCOPE #3<br />

LA MARIPOSA BORRACHA -The process<br />

by Shanice Stanislaus<br />

Even in their mode of movements, hugely similar, there was a certain uninhibited<br />

groove and bounce to the movements. There was a certain aerobic styled structure<br />

to all their popular dances where everyone in the whole village would leave their<br />

homes and come dance out in the school/plaza where the popular songs would<br />

play. From grandmas in Kibera to little children in Battambang, the desire to move<br />

and dance despite having no shoes or some being very ill was extremely present.<br />

While these famous set dances are not carefully choreographed technically, their<br />

movements carried a sense of their soul and ritual which can traced back to tribe<br />

communities in the past which now have evolved into popular culture in slum<br />

environments. No one taught dance there. Dance was raw, it was pleasure. It was<br />

a communal celebration in response to the harsh reality of death and illness.<br />

Photo credit: Shanice Stanislaus<br />

Photo credit: Shanice Stanislaus<br />

This was a philosophy that grounds the choreographic work and<br />

has been key in the genesis of the work and why we still dance<br />

despite illness.<br />

The work continues to redevelop and grow as it has been<br />

evolving since July 2016 and it is set for a restage in 2019. My<br />

hope is to keep researching this work of what it means to be ill<br />

on the deepest and most sincere level. With every community or<br />

individual that has helped to co-create this work, it has<br />

constantly reminded my team and I of what we are constantly<br />

unearthing; the importance to feel this myriad of emotions, the<br />

connection to our own humanity through laughter and play and<br />

the importance to connect, grief and even celebrate with others<br />

especially in the darkest of times.<br />

‘My body is now beginning to be falling apart, but I will do it to the end.’<br />

- Marina Abramovic<br />

99 100

SCOPE #3<br />

LA MARIPOSA BORRACHA -The process<br />

by Shanice Stanislaus<br />

AbouT<br />

Shanice Stanislaus<br />

Shanice started as a performing artist with Flamenco<br />

Dance Theatre company, Flamenco Sin Fronteras, and<br />

has since worked internationally with esteemed<br />

practitioners such as Antonio Vargas, Sue Samuels and<br />

Alberto Velasco in New York and Spain. She is an<br />

international Zumba Fitness presenter for Move to<br />

Empower, supported by the United Nations. Her work<br />

includes developing and training new choreographers<br />

and dance instructors in impoverished communities<br />

internationally. She is the founder of Creatives Inspirit, its<br />

mission to nurture a community of socially responsible<br />

artists and creative changemakers. She is also a<br />

film-maker and has had her films premiered at the Guam<br />

International Film Festival, Info Cinephone Festival,<br />

Evolution Mallorca Film Festival and Colortape Festival<br />

Australia.<br />

101 102

SCOPE#3<br />

There Is<br />

Speficifisfety<br />

- The Work As Scribed Text.<br />

by Lee Mun Wai<br />

In this written contribution to <strong>FUSE#2</strong>, I would like to use this<br />

opportunity to (finally dare to make an attempt to) write about this<br />

work. I would like to (finally dare to) transfer some of my thoughts<br />

and feelings (a lot of them still very hazy) about There Is Speficifisfety<br />

into words.<br />

It is about encounter and what an encounter produces.<br />

This is the first time that I have embarked on a creative journey<br />

where it has been so hard for me to say in words what exactly it is<br />

about. Of course I know it is about something. But for a long time I<br />

had been hiding behind the convenient disguise of pretending that<br />

this work has no about-ness to it. How can that be?<br />

Perhaps I find it difficult to write about the work because its<br />

about-ness is so different from the previous works I had done.<br />

Previous works sought to describe or analyse certain world-views or<br />

topics using the contemporary dance form. Thus, choreography,<br />

movement and the bodies in space served to make these topics<br />

visible to the audience.<br />

With the Speficifisfety project however, the focus falls directly on the<br />

act and the situation itself – the very encounter between Ren Xin<br />

and I so to speak. It is the first time a project I am involved in ended<br />

up being about itself and nothing else but its very self.<br />

As the project began taking shape from 2016, Ren Xin and I soon found out that<br />

with every meeting or rehearsal, we were trying to find ways to encounter each<br />

other. Though we both share a great interest in each other’s practices and bodies<br />

of work, it is clear that our approaches are very different.<br />

Initially, this created some minor personal crises. I was not used<br />

to this non-deterministic way of working, where each rehearsal<br />

/ meeting began and ended with as many, if not even more,<br />

options, directions and unanswered questions. My headspace<br />

and my being were constantly splintering off in different<br />

directions instead of streamlining themselves into a sense of<br />

organised linearity. The questions that arose from our process<br />

kept looping back to ourselves and our encounter. We were<br />

questioning all our working habits and the personal practices<br />

that each of us had grown used to.<br />

Rehearsing not to determine or foreclose, but instead, to learn how to navigate and<br />

negotiate.<br />

Because of the way we were working, the very meaning of rehearsal – what was<br />

being rehearsed – changed drastically. No more was I rehearsing in order to set in<br />

stone a certain kind of spatial, temporal and bodily organisation that would be<br />

replicated on stage for the audience. No more was I rehearsing in order to make<br />

invisible a process wrought with surfeit and hiccups. Instead, rehearsals were<br />

about honing a sensitivity towards our encounter. Rehearsals were about learning<br />

how to tune in to the plethora of sensorial and tactile information arising from our<br />

encounter; which ones to listen to, which ones to discard, which ones to ignore,<br />

which ones to develop. Rehearsals were about learning how to negotiate our<br />

partnership actively throughout the work. Rehearsals were less about attempting<br />

to flatten unevenness and difference in favour of showing a smooth, uninterrupted,<br />

culminated singularity, and more about training our bodies to readily face the<br />

clashes and disruptions arising from the meeting of two very different bodies.<br />

103 104

SCOPE#3<br />

There Is Speficifisfety<br />

- The Work As Scribed Text.<br />

by Lee Mun Wai<br />

Some questions I posed to myself during rehearsals include:<br />

What are the ways of acknowledging the other bodies?<br />

How many relations can I handle?<br />

What is the nature of each relation?<br />

How am I gazing?<br />

How am I being gazed at?<br />

What is moving the body?<br />

What am I acknowledging?<br />

When do shifts happen?<br />

What happens when a shift happens?<br />

How long does it take for a thing to become something else?<br />

The answering of these questions then becomes the doing of the dance.<br />

The answering then becomes the performance.<br />

One thing that was mentioned a lot in our rehearsals was the idea of<br />

a mode of inhabiting and a mode of achievement. These modes<br />

were modes of performance and they could be treated as opposite<br />

ends of the spectrum that Ren Xin and I were modulating ourselves<br />

within. A large part of what I have described above – about learning<br />

how to listen, navigate and negotiate – exists closer to the “mode of<br />

inhabiting” end of the spectrum. That is not to say that the “mode of<br />

achievement” end is not important. We soon realised that the work<br />

would tend to meander unendingly and uninterestingly if we only<br />

parked ourselves on the end closer to “mode of inhabiting”. Perhaps<br />

it might then be of interest to unpack the idea of what constitutes as<br />

“uninteresting”. What did it mean to say that a part of our dance was<br />

uninteresting? Uninteresting to whom? To us? To the audience? And<br />

by subsequently trying to negotiate these uninteresting parts, what<br />

kinds of pressures could we have been acquiescing to? Were we<br />

giving in too easily to a kind of conventional mode of watching? What<br />

alternative strategies did we have to get around these uninteresting<br />

parts? Could one of the strategies have been staying steadfast in<br />

this uninteresting part, to resist the want to get rid of it as soon as it<br />

appeared, in order for something to organically appear later on?<br />

Occupying either end of the spectrum was not useful to the work.<br />

Instead, we were modulating appropriately within the spectrum<br />

throughout the work, understanding that at some points, it would be<br />

necessary for certain situations to peak, and at others it was<br />

imperative to dissolve something that had been going on for some<br />

time even though it felt like it had some relevance. Indeed, the<br />

knowledge of how and when to employ these strategies of<br />

negotiation were honed during our rehearsals.<br />

I see you see her see them see us see me.<br />

105 106

SCOPE#3<br />

There Is Speficifisfety<br />

- The Work As Scribed Text.<br />

by Lee Mun Wai<br />

Throughout the work, the various modes of inhabiting<br />

between Ren Xin and I allowed the audience to have varying<br />

degrees of concentration and viewing. Because of these<br />

varying degrees, everything in the performance space<br />

became visible. Our performance created a keen sense of<br />

attention not only towards Ren Xin and I, but to the entire<br />

space as well. Sometimes, when the encounter between<br />

Ren Xin and I became too tedious or boring to watch, the<br />

audience’s gaze and attention would shift towards other<br />

things or people in the room. Also because, with such a high<br />

level of attention in the space, a small shift in any part of the<br />

space - be it an audience member sweeping one’s hair, or a<br />

sudden flicker of a fluorescent light tune - would cause<br />

people to divert their attention to that shift momentarily. I<br />

quite like this idea: that the encounter between Ren Xin and I<br />

was not the only thing to be looked at in this performance.<br />

Our encounter could also serve as a thing or a gesture to<br />

make other aspects of the space, or other people, visible to<br />

the audience. Yes, at times, Ren Xin and I were undoubtedly<br />

the ones being watched, but there were also a lot of<br />

instances where we were acting as conduits to redirect the<br />

audience’s gaze and attention to the rest of the space.<br />

About<br />

Lee Mun Wai<br />

Lee Mun Wai is an independent dance artist from<br />

Singapore. He has been spending the past 3 years<br />

performing in and creating works that try to speak<br />

about performance and choreography in a much more<br />

expanded sense.<br />

Prior to becoming an independent dance artist, he was<br />

one of the founding members of the Singapore- based<br />

T.H.E Dance Company (2008 – 2015). With the<br />

company, he has performed extensively in festivals<br />

such as Les Hivernales in Avignon, France, as well as<br />

the Oriente Occidente festival in Rovereto, Italy. He has<br />

also performed in China, South Korea, Poland, India,<br />

Indonesia and Malaysia. In 2014, he received the Young<br />

Artist Award from the National Arts Council of<br />

Singapore.<br />

He is currently pursuing his Masters in Choreography<br />

and Performance at the Institut für Angewandte<br />

Theaterwissenschaft in Giessen, Germany. In March<br />

2018, he performed in Claudia Bosse’s Last Ideal<br />

Paradise at Tanzplatform In Deutschland 2018.<br />

107 108

SCOPE #3<br />

Notes on ‘There is<br />

Speficifisfety’<br />

by Lee Ren Xin<br />

Briefly, before coming to Singapore for SCOPE#3 at Dance Nucleus:<br />

1.<br />

2.<br />

Meeting Mun for the first time since our show Where’s The Speficifisfety in<br />

July 2017: Our two bodies in present time encountering the two past<br />

bodies in 2017 (in the videos). Us now encountering us then.<br />

How to collaborate with Mun?<br />

Photo from Lee Ren Xin<br />

3.<br />

4.<br />

5.<br />

6.<br />

Since so much is about that present time, present space, present energy,<br />

present history, presence, I sometimes have doubts about if I am conflating<br />

all things or motivation into an instant performance/composition (different<br />

from improvisation). And if so, what then are the two of us doing, spending<br />

hours together each day over a month? What (other) ways could we work<br />

in? What are we working on, when we work? And so, what is that work that<br />

will be performed on 28-30 September at KOTAK @Five Arts Centre in KL?<br />

It’s hard for me to orientate towards something if I’m in a place that’s open<br />

to everything. There is no more motivation to make the next step, to<br />

continue. Where’s the speficifisfety of this piece?<br />

What is at stake? This is also the guiding line for me to make decisions<br />

when performing.<br />

I appreciate that Mun and I are coming together with differing<br />

interests/inclination as we infer differently and also employ different<br />

research trajectory, when faced with the same task or proposition.<br />

7.<br />

8.<br />

9.<br />

In an effort to break our habitual default responses and kinetic tendencies,<br />

we practiced outside of our existing politics. Yet, in an effort to find<br />

alternatives beyond distinct polarities, are we blanding unnecessarily? That<br />

seek for alternative spaces may be a meaningful part in our working<br />

process. But just because it was what we were interested in excavating, is<br />

it necessarily the piece? Two years ago, I once wondered aloud in<br />

rehearsal, could we meet at 50-50? What does it mean to meet at<br />

mid-point, in terms of energy, timing, intention, pathway? Henceforth, there<br />

began this jokingly-serious challenge for what we think is impossible i.e. to<br />

meet equally. What is the work now, anyway?<br />

Because of my habitual practice inclination to find hard-to-lock-down<br />

spaces, I may be overlooking the richness of simple ways things are and<br />

could be, too…to just acknowledge, and also allow space for such<br />

polarities.<br />

Our principles in life are not necessarily what is desired as content of the<br />

piece.<br />

Whose desire, anyway?<br />

109 110

SCOPE #3<br />

Notes on There is Speficifisfety<br />

by Lee Ren Xin<br />

10.<br />

11.<br />

12.<br />

13.<br />

14.<br />

15.<br />

16.<br />

17.<br />

18.<br />

19.<br />

20.<br />

21.<br />

22.<br />

Allow inequality.<br />

Post-moment or post-happening: how one re-/contextualizes it or unfold<br />

from that moment.<br />

Pre-run, I have a notion of the piece. During run, the notion of the piece is<br />

not useful.<br />

Meaning: An arrival made by all parties: Mun, Ren Xin, the audience.<br />

Politics: Testing and negotiating boundaries between the two bodies.<br />

I think sometimes when we think we know the work, and we perform with<br />

that notion we think is the work, the work’s life actually dies. Because we<br />

might just be performing an impression of the work, and so the experience<br />

becomes a non-situated memory of the work. I feel that impressions are<br />

generally set (fixed/dead) things. They feel like a mushed<br />

color/image/notion. So, if we work from such a place, the distinct colors or<br />

shades that maketh the work would be lost.<br />

Really, what are we doing??<br />

How do we feel, about what we are doing?<br />

What feelings/thoughts are we encountering right now where we at, at this<br />

juncture?<br />

What is this unconvinced or non-belief that I am feeling?<br />

What have I been avoiding to address about this work?<br />

How do we want to work, for this phase, from next week onwards?<br />

I can’t help but notice our bodies relating to each other subconsciously<br />

whenever we are talking or discussing things in rehearsal.<br />

The following dots the 5 days at Dance Nucleus, 17-21 September 2018:<br />

23.<br />

24.<br />

25.<br />

26.<br />

27.<br />

28.<br />

29.<br />

30.<br />

31.<br />

32.<br />

33.<br />

34.<br />

35.<br />

36.<br />

Apart / a part of<br />

Synchronicity that does not come together.<br />

What is casual? Is that casual? Does it matter?<br />

Let the audience rest. Let the audience breathe. For a bit. OK.<br />

This is just one way.<br />

Why perform? There is no reason to perform.<br />

There is reason to perform.<br />

No need reason to perform.<br />

What do I recognize? What do we recognize? Do we recognize that we<br />

recognize?<br />

Why take risks? Because I want to please the audience.<br />

The need and attempt to choreograph happens whenever we are stuck.<br />

Bodies of thought.<br />

Bodies of idea.<br />

Bodies of ambition.<br />

Body of the task.<br />

Body of the situation.<br />

Body of sound.<br />

Body of anxiety.<br />

They are like bodies. Some sexy, some uncomfortable, some unidentified.<br />

Body within body.<br />

Body of this building.<br />

Body of this work.<br />

The survival program in us prescribes hierarchy to what we encounter e.g.<br />

prioritizing living bodies or “brain-bodies” over other (inanimate) bodies in<br />

the space.<br />

When do I refer to it as ‘the work’, and when do I say ‘the piece’? Does it<br />

matter?<br />

111 112

SCOPE #3<br />

Notes on There is Speficifisfety<br />

by Lee Ren Xin<br />

After SCOPE#3, the final week in KL:<br />

45.<br />

In this work, I sometimes feel our tasks are really not that meaningful.<br />

However, they are important for us as principles which we have found to<br />

produce or allow for results which we recognized to be desirable as<br />

content of the piece. I’d rather the audience not know too much what our<br />

tasks are.<br />

46.<br />

47.<br />

Sometimes, the tasks is not what the piece is. The tasks allows the piece<br />

to take form in real time. But they are not what the piece is about. It is<br />

important that we do not mistake the tasks as the piece. There are times<br />

when a particular task is no longer relevant or no longer works for the piece,<br />

because of the changed way we perceive or treat the task. Sometimes, the<br />

task is what the piece is. Some other times, simply just do the task.<br />

I wish we could be as sensitive to shifts in the everyday life as we are with<br />

performance.<br />

37.<br />

38.<br />

39.<br />

40.<br />

41.<br />

42.<br />

Simply, come together. Simply, don’t come together.<br />

Simply, meet.<br />

Photo from Lee Ren Xin<br />

I need to meet the audience. And allow the audience to meet us.<br />

When does it become a collective of people trying to figure out and arrive<br />

somewhere together?<br />

After such long conversations and working time, there is yearning for—as it<br />

also becomes increasingly challenging to relocate—discreteness between<br />

us.<br />

Sometimes, being too brainy forms inertia to move, to respond, to live, to<br />

listen.<br />

48.<br />

49.<br />

Observation, in retrospect: There Is Speficifisfety definitely is less playful<br />

and less personable than Where’s The Speficifisfety. Even the titles reflect<br />

so.<br />

I felt there is some sort of “same-zoning” happening to Mun and I when we<br />

came together this time to work, compared to last year. Perhaps, in future<br />

if we want to live this work again, we need to work differently e.g. not spend<br />

so much time working together, or not spend any time at all and just meet<br />

and perform, from whatever part of life or the world each of us is coming<br />

from. In other words, there is either too much shared ground right now—as<br />

of the KOTAK version, or there is a need to bring it even more<br />

extreme—allow even much more shared ground next time—then maybe,<br />

an inevitable fissure (desirable) can happen. Perhaps, this is also the nature<br />

of the collaboration between Mun Wai and Ren Xin—as of now.<br />

Carrying forward:<br />

We were very invested in the questions and laboratorial processes between us,<br />

but where does it go?<br />

43.<br />

44.<br />

If the dance is independent of music, then what would be the role of the<br />

music in this work?<br />

When is the work about sharing with the audience our journey of figuring<br />

out, and when is simply a closed and unspoken contract, pre-agreed-upon<br />

between Mun and I.<br />

If possible, I would like to explore with different bodies/persons in this<br />

work—whatever retains as “this work”.<br />

What is the work, beyond the two of us?<br />

113 114

SCOPE #3<br />

Notes on There is Speficifisfety<br />

by Lee Ren Xin<br />

AbouT<br />

Lee Ren Xin<br />

Ren Xin's current research locates in her neighbourhood<br />

in Malaysia. She uses walking and dance rituals as ways<br />

of corporeal mapping and observing what needs to<br />

occur subsequently in the environment and in what<br />

forms she can respond to facilitate it. Her interests<br />

include the various gaps between people who live in<br />

vicinity, the mythical position of the local/outsider in<br />

relation to the increasing migrant workers population,<br />

and the in/visibility and dis/appearance of women and<br />

women’s body in spaces.<br />

Prior, her work series B.E.D., supported by the Krishen<br />

Jit Astro Fund 2014 in Malaysia, was invited to<br />

presented in BO:M Festival (Seoul, 2015) and<br />

Festival/Tokyo 2016. She studied at Nanyang Academy<br />

of Fine Arts, Singapore and Purchase College (BFA),<br />

New York.<br />

115 116

About<br />

Dance Nucleus<br />

Dance Nucleus is a space for practice-based research, creative<br />

development and knowledge production for independent dance.<br />

Dance Nucleus fosters a culture of critical discourse,<br />

self-education, artistic exchange and practical support. Our<br />

programmes are designed to respond to the needs of our<br />

members in a comprehensive way. We build partnerships<br />

in Singapore, Southeast Asia, Asia & Australia, and<br />

internationally.<br />

Dance Nucleus is an initiative of the National Arts Council of Singapore.<br />

Team<br />

Artistic Director<br />

General Manager<br />

Operations Manager<br />

Publication Designer<br />

Address<br />

Daniel Kok<br />

Freddy Lai<br />

Dapheny Chen<br />

Rae Chuang<br />

90 Goodman Road, Goodman Arts Centre, Block M,<br />

#02-53, Singapore 439053<br />

Website<br />

www.dancenucleus.com<br />

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