Ery Mefri (Indonesia)
"Choreographer Ery Mefri always keeps the tradition in his creation that is rich of musical concept and the purity of the stage." –Kompas
Founding one of Indonesia's leading contemporary dance companies, Nan Jombang, Ery Mefri is fast capturing the attention of the international dance circuit with his groundbreaking choreography—a compelling mix of Minangkabau performing arts traditions (drumming, dance, and martial arts), spirituality, and contemporary movement.
Triggered by his desire for self-expression whilst exploring the potentiality and richness of his heritage, Mefri's signature style easily identifies with West Sumatran culture; one that is marked by the Randai (folk theatre tradition of Minangkabau), with movements based on Pencak Silat (a self-defense art), a live soundscape created by chants, claps and body percussion of the performers, and Tari Piring (Plate Dance). Christening his dance company after his first choreographed piece in 1983, the artist has since been developing noteworthy pieces that have been praised for their innovative articulation of tradition such as Tiang Nagari, Malin Kundang (a collaborative piece with Taiwanese choreographer Cynthia Lee), and Ratok Piriang. Renowned in Indonesia, Nan Jombang is increasingly in demand abroad. They have appeared at Esplanade in Singapore and has toured Seoul, the Philippines, Germany's Theater der Welt and four Australian festivals in 2010. They have also performed at the Zuercher Theater Spectacle in Switzerland and in Berlin.
Read our Exclusive Q&A with Ery Mefri!
PRESENTATION: WORK-IN-PROGRESS & DISCUSSION
Ery Mefri and Nan Jombang (Indonesia)
31 May 2012, Thu, 2pm
Esplanade Theatre Studio
In September 2009, the dancers of Nan Jombang were rehearsing in the city of Padang when an earthquake struck. They escaped injury when the building collapsed around them. Their survival inspired them to accelerate plans for their own choreographic centre and to create a new full-length work Tarian Malam (Night Dances). The dance is premised on the notion that one of the original sins of the world is receiving Eve after her escape from Paradise. The guilt continues when Woman/Mother carries on being a sacrifice for the greed of the world. The quake is to right the wrong. This new work introduces new elements including two Sumatran dhol drums (in all Nan Jombang's works, all of the music is created live by the dancers) and a design inspired by a traditional Randai stage as well as video footage captured by survivors of the quake.
A discussion follows the performance of the work-in-progress, in which Ery Mefri will talk about the genesis of the work and his choreographic ideas.
Asian Converse – Dance Masterclass
1 Jun 2012, Fri, 9am (90mins)
Esplanade Rehearsal Studio
Ery Mefri begins with the belief that everyone has the capability to develop a dance style or technique. It is only a matter of finding it and working on it to refine the movements. This masterclass aims to help participants discover what they are capable of. Mefri will introduce basic Padang dance forms like Randai and martial arts used in his choreography. Exercises also include breathing and vocalisation, pertinent to his style. Participants may be asked to do vigorous movements and are advised to be aware of their own limits.