Maya Dance Theatre RELEASE 5.0 (Stage 1) will open tomorrow (04 March 2016.), and will also feature renowed Balinese dance artist/ choreographer, Ni Wayan Sekariani.
Sekarni returns to Singapore for the second time to perform. (She last performed with Maya Dance Theatre is ANWESHA in 2012).
We join her to find out about her thoughts, and in being a part of RELEASE 5.0.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Sekarni: My name is Ni Wayan Sekarni, and I am from Batuan, Bali. I was born on 19 July1964, and started to learn to dance at the young age of 6. I started off learning Baris dance choreography from my instructor, Master Jimat. As Master Jimat would be busy in the day with other students, I would learn choreography from him only in the evenings. Baris is a family of traditional war dances of Bali normally performed by males, and I felt that by mastering a more difficult style of dance, it would be easier to learn female-style dances. After being exposed to Baris, I then started to learn Jauk Manis (Tari Halus) but I was unhappy as the dance involved masks and I felt that the audience would be unable to see my face or my beauty. I wanted to perform Jauk Manis without the mask but my uncle insisted I had to keep the mask on. It was a Balinese family tradition for girls in to learn male-styled dances first as it would allow increased versatility as well as an easier transition to other forms of dance.
When I was 12, I picked up Legong Dance, and at 14, I picked up Tari Gambuh, which involves theatre, vocals, and dance. We had to use the language of Sanskrit for vocals, and it was extremely difficult to master. Only when I entered high school was I able to understand the music. I feel that Gambuh is the most difficult form of dance to master due to the language, the tempo of the music, as well as its theatre aspect. It is more challenging than Arja (traditional Balinese Opera) as in Arja, the music follows the movements of the dancers while in Gambuh, the dancers have to follow the music, and sometimes changes in the music can be very sudden.
At the age of 16, I started to teach dance to little kids in my local community, and at the age of 18, I began to share my knowledge of dance to international students as well. I love theatre, and as well as teaching and performing. I feel that patience is a virtue, which many other instructors out there lack. Also, as dancers, I feel that we must take classes and seriously, and should a dancer not be focused, it would be difficult for me to share my knowledge and experience with them.
What aspects of dance are you interested in? What do you like to explore in your works?
Sekarni: I tend not to be too ambitious with my choreography. When making movement, I just let my body lead me and aim to see how I am able to allow my audience to be able to feel the message that I am portraying. Sometimes I feel that our movements are unable to connect with the audience, and I am always keen to find that connection with audience, especially by expressing myself fully. What I would love to explore in my works are honest movements, and sincere performances.
Please tell us a bit about your work which you will be presenting in RELEASE 5.0.
Sekarni: My piece is about my hope for art form to be able to still live on in the future, and have the next generation to carry on the arts. I want to be able to pass down my knowledge and experience to future generations, but it is rather upsetting that there are very few dancers available to continue the legacy. Since young, I have been observing daily my grandmother's movements and trying to understand the way she moves, and because of this, I now feel that my movements are similar to hers. In a way, I feel uncertain if the next generation is able to carry on our art forms and movement, but yet I still have hope and faith for the future.
This is your first time presenting your work overseas. How do you feel and what do you expect from the audience?
Sekarni: I feel very happy and privileged to be able to perform here after Anwesha. I also feel that I want to gain the exposure as well as learn more about the character of the participants and dancers. It is very enjoyable to be able to learn from such diverse cultures, as they each have their own unique and different movements. I have no expectations from the audience, but I do hope they are able to enjoy my sharing as much as I enjoy imparting my knowledge and experience to them.
Tickets: S$22 (Standard)* & S$18 (Concession)
Tickets for RELEASE 5.0 can be purchased online here.
For the technologically challenged, tickets for RELEASE 5.0 will be available from the front of house on the dates of the shows.
Also join us for RELEASE 5.0 (Stage 2)
10-12 March 2016, 8.30pm
The Substation Theatre
Tickets: S$28 (Standard)* & S$25 (Concession)
Maya Dance Theatre is a recipient of National Arts Council's (Singapore) SEED grant for the period from 01 October 2012 to 31 March 2016.
RELEASE 5.0 is supported by:
Apsara Asia Pte Ltd, Singai Tamil Sangam, Arts Fund, OCBC Bank, Samuel Seow Law Corporation, Owl City SG Pte Ltd, Lee Foundation, Copper Chimney and Lee Foundation.
Partners of RELEASE 5.0:
10 Square @ Orchard Central, library@esplanade, Kaatsbaan International Dance Centre (New York, USA) and Tri Pusaka Sakti Foundation (Bali, Indonesia).
To find out more about our other choreographers:-