Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Sutra Foundation presents Tarikan. Redefining Contemp Modern Dance from Asian perspective. Date/Time: 29/8/2012 – 2/9/2012 8:30PM – 11PM; Venue: Pentas 2, klpac. For more information: www.sutrafoundation.org.my

Ramli Ibrahim presents Tarikan, redefining contemporary dance with traditional values. This was what went on in my mind when I attended the Tarikan dance show at KLPac yesterday. I had never experienced an Indian traditional dance show and this was my first. Wasn't sure what to expect or feel, but afterwards, it all makes sense. Being an art advocate, I was obliged to experience the different flavours artists can offer, only to discover that that obligation presented a memorable delightful experience of a First Timer! It was as if I was tasting olives for the first time - mysteriously weird with a pleasant after taste. Let me tell you why.

I love performing arts but traditional dance did not get my attention in the past. My recent encounters with Ramli Ibrahim presented me with the opportunity to understand traditional arts further. In this case, Indian dances. Ramli quoted ".... this is serious art" and I went ".... ya Michael Jackson was also serious". Little did I realise that "serious" means richness in aesthetic value. This (aesthetic value), I find in Tarikan. Ramli was kind enough to extend me an invitation for the show. I thank you (Ramli). I took it upon myself from that point that I should never assume what I'd feel before I actually give myself the chance to experience it (whatever it may be). So for those of you out there who have never experienced a traditional dance show, give yourselves the chance and go for Tarikan at KLPac.

Anyway, the lights went off and a buzzing sound (Hindu/Buddhist style) started getting louder by the second simultaneously followed by defined lighting that gets brighter every second at positions highlighting dancers. And they started to dance. Very gracefully. Moves that you don't think humans can make. It was as if an invisible giant child was playing with a doll flexing the arms and legs in unimaginable directions a human body could do. The dancers were not in traditional Hindu dresses but in contemporary costumes. This was the first departure from my perception of what this lot was all about. At this stage, the moves following the traditional Gamelan tunes were still quite within my expectations of a traditional Indian dance.

Then I realised that the series of dances performed seem to tell a story. You can almost create a story of your own by choosing the different dancers as different characters in your imaginary saga. This is possible because in the ocean of synchronised movements, ad hoc break ups by each dancers performing their unique movements gave character to each dancers. You can almost fit in a love story into the whole set. The choreography further metamorphosed from ethnic-influenced movements into a more passionate, exotic and erotic movements. A hybrid of traditional, gymnastics and contemporary dancing. This added flavour and meaning to it all. Ever watched Philadephia? The scene when Tom Hanks was appreciating the opera song while Danzel was observing him? Yeah! I was Tom Hanks practically - "appreciating".

In the midst of all that anticipated traditional Indian dance movement which was rejuvenated by the contemporary fusion of modern and sensual movements, suddenly, a rocker with an electric guitar appeared by the side! Wow! In my mind, what is going on here? Kurt Cobain just woke up from being dead? The rocker started to strum and play mini solos with distortions enough to preserve the rock elements but yet flowing nicely alongside the rhythms of the Gamelan. The dance moves seem to evolve into an interesting recipe of accommodating the influences of the battling Gamelan and electric guitar. Imagine trying to dance Salsa with a Metallica tune? It's a paradox really. It sounded impossible but hey! Indian traditional dance with electric guitar rocky music elements! It works! Fantastic!

So in conclusion, Tarikan is an eye opener. It is an evolution. An aesthetic value that truly upholds the need to move in the same wavelength with the changing environment. It epitomises the spirit of contemporary art and gives new life to ancient creation. It is simply refreshing. A surprise even. It is creative - Full Stop. Syabas! Ramli and his crew.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 1:29 AM

Title: Gunaan Ilusi
Medium: Water Base Paint Mural + Photography
Dimension: 340cm X 170cm
Artist: Johan Ishak
Models: Johan Ishak & Amirul Rizal
Time/Date: November 1992
Place of Creation: STAR, Ipoh
Current Location: Demolished


Friday, August 17, 2012 at 3:12 AM
At the dawn of Syawal, we are given the opportunity to seek forgiveness from all regardless of age, religion or ethnic origin. We are not spared from the imperfection of committing sins, even as small as atoms.

We must not forget that we are humans. For that, we err. For that, we are humbled by the mere acknowledgement of our weaknesses, as humans. With humility, comes realisation. With realisation, comes gratitude. With gratitude, comes love.

Therefore, at the dawn of Syawal, it is only appropriate that such love is epitomised through forgiveness. Let's forgive each other. Happy Syawal.


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