Dancing to Disney This Christmas

In our bustling metropolis, where temperatures are consistently set to ‘tropical’ year-round, it can be hard to find some Christmas spirit. That sparkle, that joy, which fills you on a cold winter’s day—when the prospect of mulled wine and mince pies is never far away—can be tough to replicate in Jakarta (at least for us northern-hemisphere exports!). But on Saturday 6December, the Kemang Dance Centre put on their first major show, The Magical World of Disney, at the Lotte World Ciputra’s Ice Palace, and spread a little festive cheer.

Three of Disney’s classic princess stories were chosen for the centre’s students to show us their stuff in an hour’s ballet performance: Cinderella, Mulan and Brave. All ages and abilities had a chance to take part in at least one of the ten, charming routines. Melissa Pratama, an RAD-qualified teacher and the founder/Art-Director of the centre, said what binds the stories together is that “the three girls can achieve things that may be seen as impossible” – an inspiring message for the students. As Melissa says, “The hard work of the princesses finally proves to be successful,” much like her own journey of training to become a teacher and gaining almost ten years’ experience before opening her own studio in 2012. Today, the centre on Bangka Raya runs over ten classes a week from ballet to hip-hop and even belly dancing. Their message is clear: no matter what your age or ability, if you love dance, you will find kindred spirits and a warm welcome here.

A warm welcome awaited the twinkled-toed performers that afternoon, starting with Grace Hampton (arguably the studio’s star performer), who elegantly danced the only solo piece to The Lion King’s ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’. For Cinderella, Olivia Mello was the sparkly fairy godmother to eleven adorable, tiny fairies in blue wings. Thirteen sweet little mice were shepherded by Cinderella (Many Sisombat), beautiful in her aproned tutu. In the Mulan segment, the dancing warriors (a slightly older group) showed that being a princess requires strength and courage, too. Finally to Scotland, setting for Brave, where three talented young dancers leapt across the stage to enchanting Celtic tunes. A grand finale saw all performers back on stage as—hearts truly warmed—the audience showed their appreciation.

The small concert hall was the perfect backdrop for the afternoon, looking as it does like the inside of an igloo. Almost 200 tickets were sold to doting parents and dance enthusiasts. Indeed, Melissa hoped the students would “gain experience and confidence dancing for a larger audience”. Good thing too, as they consider another classical dance performance for the future.

It’s a wonderful thing to encourage our young people to pursue, hone and—importantly—share their talents. So, a festive ‘cheers’ to Melissa and her team of teacher-choreographers (Maria Magdalena, Brenda Susanto and Mariska Febriyani), for bringing a little joy this season, and allowing their students to shine in The Magical World of Disney.

 

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Annali Hayward is an English freelance writer and editor based in Asia. More at https://mycornersoftheworld.wordpress.com/ - or leave a comment to get in touch.


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