Our last interview with Nalitari for the month of August was with Angel, a member who has been with Nalitari for about a year. For starters, we asked to tell us about why she started dancing to begin with.
Angel: It all started back when I was in Junior High school. At first I never intended to choose dancing, but I always knew that I was a hyperactive kid (I move a lot). And I felt like I needed to use this energy for something productive, something progressive. In Junior High school, not only was there a paper exam, but a practical exam as well (it’s more like a showcase of students’ talents), and at that moment I chose to do a dance performance with my friends. And since that moment, I’ve felt like dancing is the best way to use my energy. However, after I graduated from Junior High, I didn’t do as much to develop my dancing ability, even though I may have taught dance to kindergarteners when there were requests.
Interviewer: When was your first encounter to Nalitari?
Angel: I joined this community last year, in 2017, before Nalitari’s exhibition. The exhibition is a big independence show held by Nalitari once every two years. Before the exhibition, Nalitari will always give free workshops to the public; where the participants are taught basic dance skills/movements/techniques in Nalitari. After a few meetings, the staff will announce to the participants that Nalitari will be having an exhibition. And those who are interested will be listed and joining an intense practice (4 times a week) to participate in the show.
Interviewer: Do you feel any changes? If so, what changes you feel after joining the dance activity in Nalitari?
Every meeting with Nalitari is so intense, and i grow very close to each member. It feels good to work together with people with the same passion or vision. It sure feel better to dance with Nalitari with my friend than dancing alone when I was teaching with kindergarten. Right now I feel more confident.
My process in Nalitari was helped since I took a major in education for people with disability. I could recall my first interaction with people different ability in my early time in that major, i was so nervous and scared because I don’t know what to do and how to behave. Now I know the key in having interaction with them is to treat them normally, only with a little bit of patience.
What is your memorable moment/ most joyful moment during your involvement in Nalitari?
The moment that I could finally join Nalitari’s exhibition and be a part of the community. I tried my best to join every events related to this community, but most of them only workshop, without any sign of recruitment. Even though actually people can join this community at any time, but the opportunity to join the exhibition is very rare.
What does Nalitari mean to you?
It means freedom of expression. Nalitari taught me to be free, but still aware that we’re not limiting other people’s freedom.
Favorite performance, workshop, and/or event?
Of course the exhibition. Because the chance is very limited. Even though I felt a bit exhausted, but it was totally rewarding.
Are there any skills/experiences before Nalitari you feel helped with Nalitari?
The joy. Before Nalitari, all I know about having interaction and building relation with people with different ability only limited during the school time, only for few hours (school for people with disability) sometimes it is very academic oriented and boring and just that. But because of Nalitari, I was always given chance to meet them in an activity outside the school, and witness them in pursuing their freedom. I can sense and feel their positive energy and excitement. I remember during the exhibition, one of the dancer with wheelchair planned to perform a trick for the audience, but somehow it failed, and the person fall off during the live show. If I were in that person’s shoe, I would be terribly embarrassed and couldn’t continue, but that person in wheelchair wasn’t. He got up and continue the show.
During the rehearsal as well, I know another member in wheelchair with tremendous amount of spirit. A lot of times during the practice, the venue a lot of times wasn’t wheelchair friendly. Everytime i want to help, the person always refuse by saying “No no, it’s fine. I can do it by myself”. I always remember his passion and spirit every time I complain/whine when I feel tired.
Needless to say, Angel’s enthusiasm showed every time she attended Nalitari rehearsals. And her knowledge of costume/make-up came in abundance. But, if there’s one thing we’ll miss about her, it will be her wit and endless want to help. A true positive asset to Nalitari.