ASIAN YOUTH THEATRE FESTIVAL 2020: Chaining Artistic Creativity And Joy Across Isolation
Living in quarantine has been hard for everyone, but that did not stop young artists across Asia from turning it into an opportunity for performance. Asian Youth Theatre Festival 2020 was one of those platforms, blooming from the necessity of lockdown into a new opportunity to connect and engage with each other. For 4 days on 19th-22nd November 2020, youth theatre groups across 10 different countries joined in workshops, open stages, and shows held together within this platform. Gigi Art of Dance for the 4th year represented Indonesia again in this platform, presenting a new workshop and a brand new stage performance via Zoom with its Dance Lab Class.
AYTF 2020 itself offered the opportunity for each country participant to present themselves and their country through a theatrical lens. Bringing the theme of Human Connection, each team highlighted their perspective on the concept and brought very specific cultural-based responses to them. Some countries framed their shows as a literal take on the issue in current times, like Buds Singapore or Khmer Art Action, while others presented a fantastic take on the concept through different lenses and approaches. Their workshops are based on these shows as well, offering other participants a look into their creative process or how certain cultural devices such as sword fighting or traditional dances become part of their show. Gigi Art of Dance opted for a very specific take on the current issue of Zoom, utilizing the application as it is so often done in daily life.
The heavy usage of the Zoom videoconference application in life in 2020 spurred the idea of the Virtual Interactive Performance Experience, or VIP Experience, as a form of performance that is exclusively tied to the Zoom platform that it is performed in. VIP Experience is shaped entirely to be performed on Zoom and requiring instant feedback from the audience to continue, making it a brand new experience of performance rather than a simple stage play presented through a screen. In its first edition, VIP Experience: Childhood Melodies, in August 2020, the show was introduced to a very warm audience in Indonesia. For AYTF 2020, Gigi Art of Dance presented the volume 2, titled VIP Experience Vol. 2: Nongskuy!!
Based on the idea of eating together as a way of bonding between friends, Nongskuy!! Brings friends together for a dinner hangout session as they eat, drink, and talk over traditional Indonesian dishes. 9 choreographers from Dance Lab Exploration created segments of the piece, and together with 4 dancers from other classes, including Dance Lab Composition, performed and finished the piece. Through the performance, each segment slowly unfolds the sadness and joy of being apart from each other, quarantined and isolated between each other, and how we seek to bridge this physical gap as much as we can through virtual means. The show received positive feedback from participants and audiences across countries, reaching over 140 viewers participating through Zoom over 10 countries. As the show was the last participant performance of the festival and the only live performance, it brought a sweet note that rounded off the festival as it closes with a virtual party for the participants.
Through the experience in AYTF 2020, each participant received a unique connection to each other as they have shared classes, shows, and talks with each other. Participating GAOD students, many are first timers to AYTF, enjoyed the cultural contact from the festival while returning students are reminded of how joyful connecting through the arts can be. The festival brought together an unspoken promise as it ended, that whatever obstacle is faced, their spirit and tenacity for the pursuit of creativity will never fade.
- Reba Aryadi
- Eva Prima
- Cita Salim
- Cedric Louise Tanamas
- Dedi Setiawan
- Margiana Dwi Ariani
- Aldianto Fitrawan
- Kezia Alyssa Sandy
- Zurisha Arabelle Joky
- Zahraditya Syifa Putri Wardyono
- Howard Affandi
- Priyanka Valencia Wiratma
- Ratih Riskomar
- Gianti Giadi