A production that includes two performances directed by Taiwanese and Indonesian choreographers aims to express “emotional exchanges.”
The hour and 40-minute program at the Experimental Theater of the National Theater Taipei consists of AriAri, created by leading Indonesian choreographer Eko Supriyanto, and Ita, choreographed by Watan Tusi, a Truku.
The dances deconstruct body languages and textures, and probe diaspora and contemporary connections, organizers said.
Eko, founder and artistic director of EkosDance Co and Solo Dance Studio in Surakarta, Indonesia, has trained in Javanese court dance and pencak silat, an Indonesian martial art, since the age of seven.
He has been involved in everything from large commercial productions to dance research projects.
In AriAri, which means “placenta” in Javanese, Eko features an indigenous dance duo, Piya Talaliman and Temu Masin of Watan’s dance company, Tai Body Theatre, “drawing attention to an invisible bond between humans and their ailments”.
“Philosophically and metaphorically for Javanese philosophy and culture, it is very important to understand that the placenta is not just a placenta. It is something that connects you to you and your family, especially your mother,” Eko said.
“And for the baby itself, metaphorically, it’s actually a twin of you that’s unknown and you can’t see it,” he said. “It’s invisible, but it’s a spirit that belongs to you and always protects you.”
He wants his dancers to imagine they have a twin behind them telling them what to create, Eko said.
Ita, who Watan says was inspired by visits to fishing ports and nightclubs frequented by migrant workers, features two of his own dancers and three Indonesian dancers from Eko’s company.
Inspired by Indonesian folk music and dangdut dance, Watan said that while the genre is fast-paced, its subject matter isn’t always about happy subjects.
It reminds him of old songs that the ancient natives used to sing when they had to leave their villages to earn a living in the cities, he said.
In his piece, he aims to explore the detachment of workers’ oscillating bodies in different musical atmospheres to create connections, Watan said.
Watan originally planned for the piece to be performed by five Indonesian dancers, but this was reduced to three due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The dancers performing Ita this weekend are Dwi Pamungkas Sugiarto, Herlambang Dinar Warih Santosa and Menthari Ashia from Indonesia, and Maya’a Taboeh Hayawan and Pan Panay from Taiwan.
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