When schools reopened their classrooms to resume face-to-face learning after an extended period of online learning, students studying the arts — especially performing arts — rejoiced at the chance to practice and demonstrate their passion on stage, in front of a live audience.
At Jakarta Intercultural School’s (JIS) Cilandak campus, the Fine Arts Theater lifted its curtains for the first time in over two years on 2nd September, when Grade 11 and 12 dancers from the JIS International Baccalaureate (IB) Dance graced the stage with a collaborative performance titled Dare to Lead.
Inspired by the school’s values of upholding integrity and responsibility, Dare to Lead was choreographed by JIS High School Dance Teacher Michael Cali and two guest dancers from Italy’s Grupo Danza Oggi (GDO), Monica Castorina and Giovanni Belluci.
“We settled on the title Dare to Lead as a way to represent the unique qualities of a leader,” Mr Cali explained. “Throughout the performance, there were movement motifs that showed strength, vulnerability, and dependence — all qualities of a good leader who demonstrates both responsibility and integrity.”
Castorina and Belluci engaged with students throughout a two-week residency based at JIS’s Cilandak campus. They worked closely with the dancers as both a group and individually, creating bespoke solo performances for them that will be used again for their IB Dance coursework.
Cali first connected with GDO and its founder Patrizia Salvatori during the organisation’s 2017 visit to the Italian Cultural Institute in Central Jakarta. After participating in various workshops with GDO, he knew that JIS dancers would greatly benefit from their talent and deep appreciation of the performing arts.
“Not only were they some of the most incredible dancers I’ve seen perform, but they were also gifted teachers who were able to quickly tune into each student they were working with in order to highlight each dancer’s strengths to create a final performance,” he said. “After this experience, I knew I wanted to bring them back to JIS to work with our students.”
GDO and JIS students first connected in 2019 in Kuala Lumpur as part of a dance exchange involving international schools from across Southeast Asia. But then, the pandemic struck, and it would be three more years filled with Zoom lessons and online workshops before the two sides could reunite face-to-face.
“Now that the borders opened back up, we were able to invite GDO dancers to come to Jakarta to work with our students,” Cali said.
As a celebration of both JIS IB dancers’ commitment to their craft and the return to on-campus engagement, Dare to Lead became a promise of the artistic talent and potential that will enliven the stage of the JIS Fine Arts Theater.