Advocating for an All Inclusive Dance Action for everyone

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ronggeng Merdeka - A detour from EOC

The choreographic work in Ronggeng Merdeka, right before I left and at the final Sunday of full rehearsal was what it could be in the short one and the half month I had working with the kids. I was given the two last week with the Ronggeng Girls and the men for the final touches of the emergency, kun-kun and the baling talk scenes. I did what I could do, although I was sad that I could not complete the whole project by staying and working with it till the final performance. And to see the overall work with the rest of the children, especially the scenes for the struggle for independence, the tugu, merdeka scene and the celebration. But I guess as a choreographer, I will have to learn to let the work go to the assistants and the performers itself, once its done, its done... I should be satisfied with the general outline of the choreography as much as I had time to do. And as much as I enjoyed working with the kids and adult performers. I could say it was quite a grueling job to get the teaching of the skills, the invention and transfering of ideas and story onto the physical bodies, the actual choreography of the scenes, the throwing out of scenes that failed, the re-constructing of new scenes based on changes and the coordination with music and drama, for me, as a fulltime mother all weekday long, and a choreographer by weekend, was more than I could handle in this trip back to Penang. So Thank you to those who helped me (including James from ASWARA, and Kat and Hee Ling who added and polished the choreography after me)
The performances, I heard have been fantastic, so sorry for those who missed out on the last show last Saturday 16 June. Check it out at I was told that Maya was at the last show,... and she was enjoying it as she can remember some of the parts of the choreography from seeing it at the rehearsals at USM with me. Especially the kun-kun section. I was almost relieved that her father had brought her to the show, after the awful screaming and almost nasty phone call incident I had with him over the fact that he could not get intouch with Maya, because I was too busy taking her to my rehearsals. Well check the pictures from the performance and you will also see a picture of maya enjoying the show at,com_smf/Itemid,26/topic,715.0/
Ronggeng Merdeka was a great detour from my 'hocus-pocus' Urbanshaman project, or my Shakti fight for the woman warrior drive. Of course from parts of the choreography, you can see a little of the woman body type work in the Ronggeng Girls sections,.. screaming to be seen. But otherwise, it was purely an educating and entertaining process of my journey and passion to be involved in a project with kids in a work like Ronggeng Merdeka. Although the theme is very serious, heavy and loaded with information and history, but it was presented in an easy, enjoyable, with brave double meanings messages that is assessible to all ages and race.
I enjoyed my work with both Sooi Beng and Sheau Fung, and of course I am always in awe of janet's intervention strategies to safe the day. So definitely, it is like the old times. Janet, Sooi Beng and I have been working together with children eversince, wow! very long ago, since Teater Muda 1995, we make a good team, and especially now with Sheau Fung leading the Director role,... great working spirit as she tolerated my running in and out of rehearsal to tend to my son marjaan who is being breastfed,... just like maya, when the 3 of us did Red and Gold Shoe. I will always be there for my children.
The pictures above were from the Preview session that the kids had for their parents and some important VIP's. Reminded me of my ex in-laws and their circle of friends. So I tried not to get into their way. Enjoyed wondering like a bird from branch to branch of the tree behind the audiences. Moving along, we can see that the children in Penang are keen for a Creative program such as this. So hooray for Janet, Sooi Beng, Sheau Fung and team of Anak-Anak Kota and Ombak-Ombak of course for running and producing the show. Congratulations! and we want more!!!. So, Aida thumbs up for you. Let's hope experiences like this can give me more possibilities to work with children everywhere in the world. Unfortunately, in Denmark,.... when I applied to work with the kids in school, they inform me that I do not have enough experience with children. Sad huh? But its fine. I love working with my 'lahs', and my ability to scream like gila any way I want, without feeling like people are gonna send the police any minute to watch and question aida (the foreigner) for being verbally abusive to kids.(So Maya's father is not the only one, so paranoid). Janet will never survive here. Ta!

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