California Institute of the Arts and the East West Center of University of Hawaii have co-commissioned Cup of Joe featuring ten classical dancers from Central Java and twenty-five CalArts musicians. Gamelan music, dance and shadow puppetry were cultivated as court arts at the palaces of the Sultans in Central Java in Indonesia. Training in these refined arts was an important part of the education of court children. Since Indonesia’s independence in 1945 and the demise of the old court way of life, a new generation of artists have developed and bridge traditional Javanese arts with modern Indonesia.
The Cup of Joe program will include a broad range of work including mask dancing, a duel between elaborately adorned women warriors, a male quartet of dynamic dancers, and a soundscape of gamelin music. The program will culminate with Karna’s Choice, about war, the love of a mother and the loyalty between brothers from the Indian epic the Mahabharata.
The young performers come from various Javenese towns, villages, and backgrounds, but all have trained at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts Yogyakarta (ISI). Senior staff members are the artistic leaders on the trip. The performers goal is to impart an understanding of the physical rigor demanded by this form of dance, as well as it’s inherent aesthetic and philosophical principles – principles of spirituality, understanding and discipline.
The program begins at 7:00 on November 29th at the Aratani Theatre, 244 South San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Tickets are on sale now.