shaking the spectator's heart

phalla san: kim jae duk, darkness poomba

Darkness Poomba

Darkness Poomba

Darkness Poomba

DARKNESS POOMBA BEGINS WITH TWO MEN STANDING STILL IN LOW LIGHT. ONE PLACES HIS HAND ON THE OTHER’S FACE; HIS COUNTERPART RESPONDS WITH THE SAME GESTURE. THE INCREASINGLY FAST ACTION BETWEEN THE TWO IS ACCOMPANIED BY THE STRONG VOICE OF A SINGER OCCUPYING THE SAME SPACE AS THE AUDIENCE. HE PERFORMS A TRADITIONAL WORDLESS SONG USED FOR FESTIVE OCCASIONS AND ALSO BEGGING. SUDDENLY, STRONG LIGHT REVEALS DANCERS RESPONDING WITH LIVELY MOVEMENT TO POWERFUL RECORDED MELODIES AND THE LIVE SINGING. BRIGHT LIGHT ALTERNATES WITH SOFT AND THE DANCERS MOVE SLOWLY TO THE FORCEFUL RHYTHMS OF THE SINGER. AT THE END LIVE ELECTRIC GUITAR, BASS AND DRUMS COMBINE WITH THE POWERFUL DANCING TO GENERATE A GREAT SENSE OF EXCITEMENT.

This is Darkness Poomba the last of four contemporary dance works performed to celebrate the opening of “Powering the Future”: the 10th Jakarta International Performing Arts Festival (IDF). The audience cheered, clapped and rocked to the 11 young dancers, musicians and vocalists from South Korea directed by choreographer and composer Kim Jae Duk who also performed as dancer, musician and singer. The combination of elements was dynamic and vigorous—while my hands were busy taking notes, my head and torso unconsciously swayed.

Beneath bright lights, the dancers committed body and limb to fast moves, shaking and leaping in a combination of modern dance, breakdance and acrobatics alternating with slower movement. From the moment the dancers were joined by the guitar players and drummer the work became larger and more dramatic. While the stage was filled with dynamic dancing, the choreographer joined the singer in one aisle of the theatre, singing and playing a mouth organ, while the two men who opened the show repeated their slaps and grabs at speed in the other aisle. The audience clapped and swayed, screaming their satisfaction.

The perfectly synchronized dance movement in Darkness Poomba and the beautiful and powerful live music made for an attractively dramatic and dynamic work. Although titled Darkness Poomba, the strong lighting not only distinguished between scenes but also suggested a brighter spirit.

12 July 2010