Kompas  |  9 September 2002

“Luminescent Twilight” – by the choreographer Gerard Mosterd, who is of Dutch-Indonesian origins, which was performed at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, September 28-29 2002. This dance was inspired by his being born of mixed cultures and in which he combines Western and Eastern basic dance movements.

Dim light covered the stage. The area not reached by the lighting was in darkness. It was like being in a twilit atmosphere, or early morning before dawn. The space between dark and light was left empty for about seven minutes. It had an atmosphere like in yard under dim moon and the strains of a Rebab were heard playing a Javanese tune.

Luminescent Twilight

This dim atmosphere was the introduction of Luminescent Twilight a dance performance by Gerard Mosterd, a Dutch-Indonesian choreographer at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (GKJ) on September 28-29, 2002. The work with a duration of 60 minutes presented the dancers Teck Voon Ng and Ester Natzijl. Gender and Kendang were played by Niels Walen, and the electronic music composition was by Paul Goodman.

The Lighting setting became the statement of the work’s theme which the artists born in Amersfoort the Netherlands tried to give form to, it was a struggle of identity of one who was born between two cultures, Western and Eastern. Elements of Mosterd’s performance based on his uncertainty and existence in this “hybrid” condition were presented through lighting, motion and music.

After the introduction of the dim lighting and the rebab, there was a rumble like the beating of drums. The stage was completely dark and suddenly the figure of a man appeared in a standing position with his body bent. His figure was only highlighted by dim light, so his facial expression was only faintly visible. He straightened up and moved his hand very slowly and gently. This was reminiscent of Javanese dance movements. The intensity of the light dimmed, as the movement became weaker.

A moment later the female dancer appeared jumping lively, explosively, with powerful movements like a ballet dancer. The figure was highlighted by bright light. Her expression was clearly visible, including her mouth which grimaced expressively. The movements of this female dancer were in contrast with the movements of the male dancer which were “minimalist”.

The next section was built up of contrasts such as dark-light, aggressive-possessive, explosive-repressive, and such like. Including the use of a screen, or screens commonly used in shadow puppet plays. The male dancer seemed to be looking for his identity on both sides of the screen. He played with the shadows behind the screen, and the wadag expression outside of the screen.

Mosterd said, Luminescent Twilight was the artistic expression of his identity which were of Western and Oriental descent. The choreographer who studied classical ballet at the Royal Conservatory, Den Haag, the Netherlands, explored these cultural “frictions”.

“I grew up between rice and potatoes. Even though I am living in the West, there is a sense of Indo in me,” said Mosterd who has had social contacts with dance communities such as Gugum Gumbira and Sardono W. Kusumo.

Mosterd’s version of the merging vocabulary of Western and Eastern movements indeed is not a new thing. However, in Luminescent Twilight the emotions resulting from “rice and potato” stew was strongly felt. At the end of the performance the song Keroncong Moritsku was heard which is known as the sweet result of the East-West synthesis. That sweet mulatto aesthetics which is to be achieved by the mulatto Dutch-Indonesian artist. (xar)

 

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