Salihara Festival

Night Dances

Salihara Theater


Festival SaliharaNight Dances | Nan Jombang (Padang, Indonesia)
Choreographer: Ery Mefri
Teater Salihara | Tuesday—Wednesday, October 23—24, 2012, 08:00 PM
Duration: 75 mins | Tickets: Rp50,000, Students: Rp25.000


The Nan Jombang Dance Company was in the middle of a dance rehearsal in Padang, West Sumatra, when the city was hit by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake. This disaster inspired Ery Mefri and his dancers to develop a new choreography, titled Tarian Malam (Night Dances). This work reflects upon the resilience of a human soul in the face of disaster’s adverse effects. The haunting wails of women are intertwined with rhythmic drumbeats and the dancers’ movements, full of energy and endlessly evocative.

Tarian Malam re-inquires our concepts of sin and the position of women as “mother earth” and as custodian of world harmony. The all-encompassing devastation wrought by the earthquake has been seen as a kind of punishment for the sins of mankind; and that it is the task of women to restore it [nature] to its original order. This choreography is a joint production by Brisbane Powerhouse, Darwin Festival, Australia and Esplanade-Theaters on the Bay, Singapore.

Night Dances
Ery Mefri develops a rich vocabulary of dance movements and voice works, mined from the rich heritage of Minangkabau tradition. Silat gestures in Randai, Tari Piring (Plate Dance), and musicalized poetry in Petatah-Petitih (proverbs and sayings). With the principle, alam terkembang menjadi guru (nature blossoms to be our teacher), he has absorbed and refreshed the Minangkabau dance tradition, while at the same time, enriching it with modern dance elements. Tradition and modernity are two sides that complete his works.

Since its founding in 1983 Nan Jombang Dance Company has produced numerous choreographies shown in many art events at home and abroad, such as: The Big Question at the Indonesian Dance Festival (1994); Ratok Ratak Tanah (Earth’s Cries) at Taman Ismail Marzuki (1995); Ratok Piring (Cries of the Plate) and Sarikaik (Fellowship) at Brisbane Powerhouse, Australia (2007); and Rantau Berbisik (Whisperings of Exile) at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany (2011).

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