Advocating for an All Inclusive Dance Action for everyone

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

AiDance - A Contemporary Choreographic Journey

 Below: Pics for Feast of Fools - Center of Performance Research, Aberythswyth, Wales

2004-2007 EOC 3 -Urbanshaman on the Move. Choreography: Jadi-Jadian (2005 Korzo Theater, Den Hague; Dance Attelier, Rotterdam, 2006 School of New Dance and Development, Amsterdam) , Guna-Guna (2006 Rijkweg Church City Apartment, Rotterdam). Aida has been busy developing her research on New Dance Intervention. It is a project that highlights her life on the move, as she learns about the world, and to return what she learns to serve the society and most importantly to lead and be led by the stories she collects along the way. As a young girl, aida has always been a physically inclined. She was always challenged as a sports athlete and an outdoor hiker/and runner with the Penang Brats, and influenced by her brothers involvement in Tae-Kwan-do and father's craze for Rugby, throughout her younger days. (And taking after her family's frequent shifts from KL, Penang, Johor, and back to Penang to stay). Aida finds herself very easily adaptable to change and thirst for new discoveries. As a young girl she is constantly on an expedition, learning and searching ways to interpret stories she gathers from her contact with her family, friends, people she meets, places, landscapes, architectures, myths, and objects that parallels to her own personal life. A Malay girl growing and living from state to state in Malaysia, and identifying herself between city life and kampung experiences, she began to find her own ways to adapt to the constant shifts. She enjoyed dreaming and making-up fantasies of the ideal world. She remembers the days as a young girl following her mother to work, taking the bus from Pudu Raya to Bukit Nenas Convent School, Aida would look out into the world through the bus glass window and fantasizing herself as the wise magician woman, taking total control of the world, and cleaning up the mess, the dirt, the pollution, the poor beggars, the hungry animals and children in the buzzing city of KL. Saving every living creature from harm and poverty. How could she serve her surroundings, while she observes her mother, working hard to keep the family together as she was the breadwinner for some years (while father taking big risks with money attempting to start own business). Feeling proud and almost envied the strength of her mother, her mother's mother, her great grandmother and even the woman friend of the grandmother (who is said to be a bomoh-shaman, and who rares spirits) - who have been the ideal image of the Wise woman, the storyteller - the religious ustazah, the ones in power. (This women sailed on a little boat across the sea from Medan to Singapore, escaping the Japanese Occupation in Indonesia, and running away from their men folk who were too weak, too poor, too lazy to support, defend nor protect them).
As a child aida was a wanderer, observing and seeking for family stories such as these to relate to and empower herself as she was voiceless to speak against a family tragedy that traumatised her mother and her own sister. And in a way a tragedy that affected her siblings as her mother experienced a period of depression (a natural reaction that will happen to any other woman in the same situation) while having to continue to raise the rest of the family amidst the tragedy of losing her daughter to her in-laws. Her sister was separated by force from her mother by another woman, her father's own mother. Another dominant Grandmother figure and 3 daughters from the Minangkabau clan. Powerful women yet jealous women. They never could accept Aida's mother (the modern city woman from Singapore) as the wife of the son and brother, as a mother to the grandchildren, niece and nephew, as their new daughter and sister-in-law, who is in every way a good woman. Aida is haunted by this nightmare, although she is not directly affected by it as she was not even born when the incident happened,... but her mother's cries and torment remains silently vivid in her psyche. Her father's and grandfather's lack of power and courage to take control of the situation, gave her reasons to always question the paternal male authoritarian and figure who reigns as the master to the women race in her early works. 
Aida as an artist, acknowledges the existence of a woman's psyche fears and distrust towards the male figure. But also curious towards a woman psyche itself, their state of mind and self control, their vulnerabilities/and capabilities to lose themselves in hysterical outbursts and unpredictable temperaments if provoked. As we all know in Malaysia and have seen and experienced stories or happenings of women or young girls in hysteria - and knowing that it exists deep in every woman's psyche. It could only be due to a reaction of being unhappy, deprived of love and affection, emotionally or physically abused or a reaction towards being suppressed, and a tragedy for example. To avoid any possibility of confronting this unknown energy/spirit/will (if it exists. How does one know if it exist in every woman, unless provoked?) Maybe, it can only be perceived, but realistically cannot be confirmed if it is not provoked by a traumatic experience, but no one can really determine the extent of a woman's fighting will, spirit and power. Aida cannot define this herself, as she has never experienced what her mother has gone through or other universal experiences of women, what they have felt or how their psyche can experience hysteria in the most tragic situations. But for aida, this could be one out of the many reasons why she as a child chose to be the silent girl - who knows, no one can determine why we each choose how we deal with the world?, (and it could have been the same for many other little girls or little boys) lost in fantasy world, to play the role of the heroin, the warrior, the magician to save the world of people, nature and creatures from abuse, manipulation and return the freedom that has been violated. Wanting to feel, be in contact, explore and confront this psyche, the spirit that is within every woman. Lost in play where Aida is seeking for this unknown side of the woman psyche, here she refers that her play is the fantasy and dream space where every child experiences till adulthood, a child's play is a behavior  that is important for all young and old people to be in touch as they grow healthily. Play as a way to discover, learn and understand the world around them. The silent play for Aida, is not a sign of indifference. Indifference is not to care, not to act, not even to think, believe or breath. Indifference is inhuman and inhumane. This silence, on the other hand is almost always premeditated, a willful act, where without silence there would be no sound.  As a choreographer and artist today, and with a loud need to express through physical play and study of the body, Aida has learned to use her art to uncage that premeditated silence of play. And like a shaman warrior she seeks freedom and transcendence to express through her choreographic forms and content, as an attempt to experience this silent psyche or even understand it, or  possibly finding its similarities in performance by experiencing a theatrical Catharsis through kinesthetic expression, acknowledging its enlightenment to the profound similarity of the healing state of 'Angin' in Mak Yong or the dantian of Noh. And in the few years of her experience she has found a space in her perfomance existence where it has enabled her to evoke this energy within her and create ways to use it to heal herself  and the people around her through her art of ritualizing dance thru storytelling, while entertaining and educating the public. Through her work she is able to express all fear and distrust of the psyche through choreography as an intervention process, so as to empower and build courage for all to confront the unknown. Her works today share the method of new dance with the daily public and community of collaborators, performing artists and audiences in all context of life and environment. Re enacting a shaman, or a storyteller, making it larger than life through her body installation and its design.... she explores the phenomena of transformation and shifts of human psyche through intervention and chance happening live with the real world as her way to transcend and heal - as humans acknowledging God's might and will, by highlighting our human fragility and weaknesses in the characters she project. And simultaneously to evoke or meet eye to eye with the woman warrior psyche that may exists or hidden within each being's (each persona or character) in their will live and story of survival - in which she studies to represent in her choreography.

2002-2004 Aida Redza - a Shakti Dances Alone. Berkumandangnya Qasidah (2002 InTransit Festival, House of World Cultures, Berlin; ASEM Conference, Kobenhavn International Theater Event), Stirrings (2002 InTransit, House of World Cultures, Berlin; Muiderpoort Theater, ColourDance, Amsterdam), Naked On Tip-Toe (2002 InTransit, House of World Cultures, Berlin), Feast of Fools (2003 Images of Asia Festival, Kobenhavn International Theater; 2004 Dasarts, Amsterdam; 2004 Asia Euro- Young Choreographer's Festival, Berlin), Manuk Dewata (2003 Mohram Concert at Istana Budaya Malaysia), Tiga Naga (2003 Choreography for Group Work for Tandak Dance Company, Ramli Ibrahim Sutra Dance Co.) Deeply affected by the news of the passing of her American friend Major Spencer Sanders in North Carolina, and regret for not knowing until 2 years later in 1998. Aida began to dwell on the concepts of immortality and eternal life, reincarnation, death and rebirth, resurrection, the continous cycle of the spirit transcending the mortal shell and returning in another form of life in her performance. Trying to embody the principle of living in physical or spiritual form (in performance) for an infinite length of time as the driving force of her work. Becoming the mythical creature, embodying the state of omnipresence in her solo choreography. Her short and intensive introduction to the training of Noh Theater by Naohiko Umewaka in the Flying Circus Laboratory with Theaterworks had inpsired her tremendously,... and followed by a journey into Buto. While Tai-Chi and Qigong complimented her performance center and discipline in her state of presence on stage. With this understanding to evoke and embody both the powerful physical and intrinsic soft quality of the dantian power within her,... aida in a way during her early choreographic journey,.. had the passion to use her art as a spiritual enlightenment to understand God's miracles of life and death, by means of centering the psyche, mind and soul and evoked the power of the 'shaman-warrior' that could heal her reality and the world around her. And to be one with the Universe. Creation is the beauty of existence, creativity of the body, mind and soul is where she wishes to empower herself with, and this passionate inner creativity is shared to all and reality,... this creative space is where we must all be, a space suspended between the two worlds of beginning and end,... where she often floats in a suspended dream state in dance - the art of unknown. Often misinterpreted by some (who has crossed paths with aida) regards her as being different because of her opinions about the significance of body, mind and soul in relation to the universal psyche, life and the world, who thinks they know her well, can only evaluate Aida as being the crazy, unreasonable, lacking of moral and religious values and therefore a weak character - woman - mother. It is shameful how some few individuals are shallow to perceive motherhood and particularly aida's role as a mother to her daughter, based only on their discriminative study of her artistic preference, mission or ambition and expressions (here it is pointed out that it is only the few individuals she knows). How wrong they are as they are the people who are actually the ones who live in fear and afraid of the unknown, and the ones whom are lost when they are unable to make sense or control the will power and spirit of the unknown. The freedom of unpredictability and chance is what drives Aida's choreographic principle, and yet it frightens those who cannot make sense or simply discriminate it as they lack the ability to possess it or control. It is strange how art can make one feel so powerless and fragile. But that is its purpose,... it triggers self reflection. And with that comes realization and transcendence,... and ultimately submission to,... in my believe and faith, a submission to Gods existence. And that state of being one with God, is the enlightenment of healing in dance. Amin.

No comments: