'Ketika Bumi Menari' converses on environmental issues through dance

  • Arts
  • Thursday, 01 Mar 2018

Rathimalar will choreograph and dance in Ketika Bumi Menari. Photo: The Star/Chan Tak Kong

Earthquakes, tsunamis, snowstorms and droughts.

Mother Nature has never been afraid to let us know how she feels. It is often hard to escape headlines about how mankind has ravaged and plundered the earth, creating catastrophic damage to the environment.

Ketika Bumi Menari, a 90-minute contemporary dance performance presented by KL-based Artmosphere Lab, addresses these environmental concerns.

“The earth shows us that we need to stop thinking just about mankind but also to start thinking about preserving our natural resources,” says Rithaudin Abdul Kadir, the creator and artistic director of the dance performance in a recent interview.

Ketika Bumi Menari is on at DPac, Empire Damansara in Petaling Jaya on March 3. Artmosphere Lab, formerly known as Penggerak Teater, was established in 2011 and is led by Naque Ariffin.

According to Rithaudin, Naque usually chooses young directors with fresh new perspectives on local issues and this is the first time the theatre company is producing a dance performance.

The show’s choreographers, hailing from classical Indian and contemporary dance backgrounds, include Foo Chiwei, Nurulakmal Abdul Wahid, Yeow Lai Chee, Rathimalar Govindarajoo, Tan Bee Hung and Rithaudin. Hemavathi Sivanesan, Adhli Sa’adilah and Derek Kho are the main dancers.

Rathimalar will choreograph and dance in Ketika Bumi Menari. Photo: The Star/Chan Tak Kong

The theme across Ketika Bumi Menari is creating “universal awareness”, in that everybody has a part to play to unite and conserve nature.

The featured dance pieces are Rupture (volcanic eruption), choreographed by Rithaudin and performed by Foo and Rithaudin, Tempestuous (tornado), choreographed by Foo and performed by Rathimalar, Yeow, Adhli and Khoo, In The Wake Of (drought), choreographed and performed by Tan, When Snow Falls, Nature Listens - Antoinette Van Klee (snowstorm), choreographed and performed by Nurulakmal, Beneath The Earth (earthquake), choreographed and performed by Yeow and Rising (tsunami), choreographed by Rathimalar and performed by Hemavathi.

Rithaudin says each choreographer was chosen for their unique style and dance background.

Hemavathi will dance the Rising (tsunami) performance. Photo: The Star/Chan Tak Kong

Rithaudin, 40, whose repertoire includes Dance Box and Dancing In Place Rimbun Dahan, hopes that Ketika Bumi Menari sends home a positive message and to show audiences that “the earth is actually dancing too.”

It is not about dancing to bad news, he maintains.

“At the same time, it also tells us that we have crossed the line and done something wrong.”

In what promises to be a rhythmic spectacle, Ketika Bumi Menari will be accompanied by live experimental music by electro-acoustic maverick Goh Lee Kwang and composer Jyotsna Prakash, from the Temple Of Fine Arts Kuala Lumpur.

Azam, a spoken word artist, provides poetry in the show. Photo: The Star/Chan Tak Kong

Poetry will also be a feature in the performance. Recitals by poet Azam Rais will be presented between the dances.

Azam, a spoken word artist and the main man behind the Poet X community podcast, will present new material reflecting Ketika Bumi Menari’s themes.

If things get too abstract, Rithaudin assures that “these poems will, at least, make the audience understand what the dance is about.”

Ketika Bumi Menari is on at DPac, Empire Damansara, Damansara Perdana, Petaling Jaya in Selangor on March 3 at 8.30pm. Tickets are priced at RM60 and RM40 (concession). More info: www.dpac.com.my. Call: 03-4065 0001.

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