Advocating for an All Inclusive Dance Action for everyone

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On The Move with the Ombak-Ombak Rentak Kids 2008

Opera Pasar. Ombak-Ombak Rentak Kids - pictures by Edwina Michelle Augustin

I have been back and working on the Rentak Penang New Dance Workshop for the young Ombakians since early August this year. After 2 series of 6 week workshop, the children begin to work towards developing a collection of compositions for the Rentak December workshop showcase based on their tour and impressions of the Campbell Street Market. It has been an enjoyable learning process for the kids. We chose Market as the theme and subject for our final expedition study to explore memory capture of movement and daily working and effort actions of the market to inspire simple dramatic compositions. Market is the thematic direction of the Anak-Anak Kota Music Rentak Workshop proposed by Sooi Beng, and the dance group were asked if we could also develop the workshop showcase towards a similar theme, and the kids and we agreed. So below are pictures of the initial process of developing short compositions for Opera Pasar that was presented on Dec 6 and 7 along the Campbell Street Market and at the Little Penang Street Market.



WORKING ON OUR FIRST CHICKEN SCENE. The kids were well aware that Chicken Fights are not legal and never conducted in a local Malaysian Market, but they were happy to say that they were representing a scene of a Market in Indonesia for example.... they were very imaginative. We had a wonderful playtime. It is simply fantastic to be able to give our adult self up to Play with children and experience to be the child they are. And it is just awesome, to have absolutely all the time in the world to give, serve, educate, develop and create .... watching and absorbing their learning process, their confidence build and insecurities overcome. Such intimacy, sharing and bonding with the kids about life and struggles, work and survival and about the cycle of birth and death. I was proud of them, like a sports coach, I had to be stern and disciplined,... but like a mother, I engaged them to indulge in appreciating the beauty and benefits of mental, physical and spiritual health thru relating dance with the living nature. Something, a child can never get if left facing the computer, tv or going to the mall daily and living in a world of materialistic values, or drilled only intellectually, without the opportuity for participation or integration of senses and awareness of others.

I care for the mental health of our kids today. Not so much in producing them to be excellent performers, but to understand the responsibility, commitment, team work spirit, give and take, tolerance, respect and understanding ... and more, the challenges they have to experience to attain the qualities to be a great and successful individual. I am proud when I see my kids growing into a towering personality. To achieve that,... we have to commit ourselves entirely into the mission. Thank you children for being patient, thank you Ombak-Ombak and thank you parents. I wished my son Marjaan was part of the workshop too, but his time will come, soon.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

NEVER AGAIN!!! at sytycd,....don't know why I agreed to appear as Guest Judge.

Watch if you have time,... at me babbling....getting nervous by the second that my periodic latah will menjelma tiba-tiba and overwhelm me to bezerk. Which it did happen, and unfortunately - if  you know what latah is,... well, watch aida in the show. I tried very hard to suppress the latah, by enjoying the music and dancing a lil on the sit to relax myself and trying to keep cool. But instead,... the latah kept coming back in electrical jolts. And it did not help that Aishah kept asking me suddenly,... and what do you think Aida?!! ...... , secara terkejut.
Not my kind of space and environment, the crowd, the noise, the camera and lights .... was much too much .... that I could not focus at all on the comments I really wished to say to the competitors, and can you imagine, they wanted me to put on false eyelashes..... (which i am glad i did not), so di dum di dum, everyone has the right to their own opinion - and its always best to be honest. Why i did it?... well, not for the survival factor, nor the glamour or the lime light - actually my husband encouraged me to do so - thank you ras for having faith in me but sorrylah, (memang its not the money nor fame for contemporary performers/choreographers, and especially for guest judge - infact our expenditure to attend this event is more, than the small honorarium they provided) But yes, I wanted to experience the new environment, and to test and challenge myself as an artist, if I am capable, to sit and speak my opinions in a setting such as this popular live broadcasting dance competition. Definitely I was no Paula Abdul, but I did the best I could to entertain, as what the Director had directed me. Make it exciting for the audience and the competitors, and so I did. (although i was wondering - why do we need to entertain?) With my 'terlatah' periods that had to happen especially when the camera was on me,... so uncomfortable. Anyways, it was worth it,... we learn from our discovery and mistakes, if we never try, we will never know how for the next time. Life is a pleasurable learning. 

Well, nothing to do about it now,... so instead enjoy the performance by this talented Top 6 Malaysian dancers at So You Think You Can Dance Season II - Episode 13

Thursday, May 15, 2008


You can view some old and new works of Shakti Dances Alone from 2003 -2005 at

or check out the Dare to Dream Documentary Part1,2 -3 on the 8 TV Malaysian Program at

and look into my working collaborations with the Ombak-Ombak Artstudio in Penang at or