The Unseen

A safe space for people living with disabilities and/or the families of people living with disabilities to share untold stories from their lives. Through dance, they tell of their struggles, survival, celebrations, hopes, and realities.
Ara Brahmara and Nalitari
Country:
Indonesia

From the curator:

Exploring a co-creation process that centres lived experiences, the members of Nalitari dance to tell their struggles of exclusion and their hope for an inclusive society. While previous  choreography mainly arose through an improv-based methodology, this project sparked a new opportunity for Nalitari to experiment with gathering stories from members and letting those stories and emotions lead the dances. The dancers express these experiences through their chosen movements, embodying a mother’s rage and anguish at her child’s ostracisation by society, two siblings’ frustrations at the communication barriers separating them, and a young dancer’s journey from the pain of rejection and bullying to the confidence of self-development. Together they present Bu Wiwit and Nadya’s story, Arsa and Didi’s story, and Fai’s story.

We started from the feelings, from the stories of the collaborators, and then from there we created the movements for those stories.

From the storyteller: 

The Unseen provides a safe space for people living with disabilities and/or the families of people living with disabilities to share untold stories from their lives. Our collaborators are members who wish to share their stories and turn them into dance. They not only share personal narratives but also take part in creating the choreography. We want to show the honest reality of our society to a wider audience through these stories.

After the bullying experience, I developed and was able to open up more, dare to show my abilities as a dancer, and finally be who I am now.

Through this project, Nalitari and I learned how to carry out our work more inclusively than before. I mean that we could practise inclusivity not just at the level of the participants, but also in the process of creating the work itself. Everyone had a chance to contribute—from the artistic director to the dancers choosing their own costume and movements. As the dancers were actively involved in creating the choreography, they understood it at a deeper level, going beyond merely memorising movements to being able to explain the origin of the story. We found that trust is the key to building a sense of security, safety, and openness among those involved, especially between the collaborators and the choreographers.

Additionally, we were able to present our methodology and dance performances to an audience consisting of artists, special education school teachers, activists, and the public in Yogyakarta. Taking part in this storytelling project was an eye-opening experience for us and we look forward to expanding on what we learned.

Resources

Collaborators

Project Director/ Storyteller, Choreographer
Ara Brahmara

Artistic Director, Stage Manager
Putri Raharjo

Music Composer
Aulia Qiriya Rais

Filmmakers
Rifqi Fachriza
Tabah Wicaksono
Abiyyu Zaim Ramadhan

Collaborators
Dyah Ruwiyati and Nadya Annisa Raharjo
Ivy Sudjana, Arsa Bintang Candra, and Adyatma Surya Candra
Wahyu Rahmad Dullah (Fai)

Sign Language Interpreters
Kurnelia Sukmawati Ramadhani
Dina Adhi Sayekti

Dancers
Dyah Ruwiyati
Nadya Annisa Raharjo
Nurul Jamilatul Khasanah
Ara Brahmara
Amanda Olga Paramita
Lutfi Dyah Nur Ramadhani
Wahyu Rahmad Dullah (Fai)
Asaf

Make-up Artist
Elizabeth Laksmi

Ara Brahmara is a Founder and Co-Director of Nalitari, an inclusive dance organisation based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Nalitari creates a safe space for diverse people to dance to inspire a more inclusive society and changes in attitudes towards diverse people. She has expanded her creative artwork to promote diversity, equity, and inclusiveness through multicultural outreach, education, dance, and movements.

She is currently based in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. The Unseen is her first inclusive dance choreography project. You can reach her at [email protected].

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