The Love and Kindness of Teachers

23 August 2021

09:00 - 09:30 hrs (GMT+7)

Prologue to PGVIS


Keynote

Alex Dea

page-2.png

Through mini-profiles of teaching, performing, casual talking and laughing, we become aware of the spirit of kindness, unselfish energy, and strength found in the older generation of music teachers. This spirit is expressed through their embodied archives of old and new knowledge and their understanding.


This presentation is intended to inspire and remind the new Javanese practitioners of intangible cultural values; values which may be imperceptibly slipping away due to modernization.


We see gamelan master Pak Cokro speaking on the importance of musical understanding after just having recovered from a stroke and heart attack. We see S. Ngaliman, paramount dance master, finishing a video of his work Pamungkas. Bu Tarwa, the main dance teacher of the Mangkunegaran palace, is only able to walk with assistance, yet he continues to lead while sitting on a raised seat and gesturing with his hands and the upper half of his body. We see prominent classical singer Sastrotugiyo who, in spite of his lowly village environment, teaches at his humble home, singing and using jokes to impart the meaning behind the melodies and lyrics, all the while giving snacks and lunch along with lessons, and teaching for hours without tiring.


While large changes to the transmission of performing arts are clear, there is not a “catastrophic loss of tradition.” Yet, there is some loss. The current teachers find their own new ways to attract and teach younger performers. Examples are the Selasa Legen get-together of over 60 dancers every 35-days commemorating the late Rama Sas; the “sekilur” performances at the high school of arts; and the practices of the Pakarti group of students led by a master musician and leading dancer. These events are announced through mobile phone social networks. In this manner, love and kindness are continued, but in new ways.