JAKARTA – Before the coronavirus pandemic arrived, 2020 seemed fated to be a great year for Siko Setyanto’s dance career: touring Germany and South Korea, performances in Indonesia, classes and more classes.
Now this man in motion has spent more than two months holed up at home with his wife.
“For dancers, it is like the blood line stopped in our body,” he says. “I cannot move freely, no more job ... while my economic responsibilities do not stop. Personally, I was stressed too.”
He was rescued by two choreographers in Indonesia’s capital who have given a traditional system for tipping artists, saweran, a modern twist — posting video recordings of dancers’ work on YouTube and asking for donations to keep the dancers and their art alive.
“We remember a long time ago we watched performances with the saweran system,” said Rusdy Rukmarata, who masterminded the project with Yola Yulfianti.
“No ticket box, no promotion, only space in the market and the musicians. People can watch them for free, if they like it, they give the tip to the performers,” Rukmarata said.
So Rukmarata and Yulfianti, members of the Jakarta Arts Council, started Saweran Online on the Indonesian Dance Network channel. On this digital stage, dancers can show their work; the shows are free, but viewers are encouraged to donate.
There are more than 60 videos by individual and dance groups from various backgrounds and genres. Included are traditional Indonesian dance, contemporary ballet and even dance workouts for older viewers. Some dancers provide videos, while others record performances at Rukmarata’s studio.