At the end of A Tranquil Star six white rabbits hop about the stage. Tiny bodies impervious to stage directions that map their own path through the space. The contrast with the extremely precise choreography that precedes this final scene is enormous. Six dancers move slowly across the stage, according to exactly measured trajectories, spinning around their axes and positioning themselves in tight constellations. Even the blinking of their eyes is directed. Which is all the more obvious due to the enormous false white eyelashes that light up in the dark like stars in the sky.
Precisely that, the relation of the human body to the heavenly bodies and the space that surrounds it, forms the basis of this performance. The Indonesian Fitri Setyaningsih (1978) drew inspiration for A Tranquil Star from a fisherman’s tribe on Sulawesi. The local fishermen have an absolutely singular and age-old method of navigation. And they also build their homes according to unique laws based on bodily proportions. Their body is their home, their home is their body.
After her study of classical Javanese dance, Setyaningsih became more and more interested in contemporary dance. She started to explore. In her own words: ‘I learned to dance, but I lost the history of the body the dance originates from.’ That is why she went on to work with unschooled dancers and to investigate the body’s relationship to the everyday objects by which it is surrounded. A Tranquil Star marks a renewed encounter between Setyaningsih and classically schooled Javanese dancers, for both parties a challenging experiment.
This Modern dance company from Indonesia was came to the Netherlands for the Get Lost Festival. I helped them with the communication on a technical level.