Yezyuruni Forinti / Jailolo
“Getting Out Of The Comfort Zone”
“Getting Out Of The Comfort Zone”
Written by Yezyuruni Forinti
Translated by Ida Ayu Eka Vania Cahya Nita
“Oh, you are Eko’s dancer.” That’s what I used to hear from people in Solo, especially when they met for the first time at the campus. In college, my friends were curious about me, about how I met Mas Eko, and how I became his dancer. They don’t understand that Mas Eko was the person who shook me out of my comfort zone, he became the first person to ‘disturb’ my comfort zone.
‘Mas Eko’¹ they were talking about is Eko Supriyanto, an Indonesian choreographer from Surakarta with a national and international outstanding reputation. He is commonly known as Madonna’s dancer, he is the creator of the well-known contemporary dance piece ‘The Trilogy of Jailolo’, and most recently the choreographer for Asian Games in 2018. I was lucky to be chosen as one of the dancers for Balabala, a part of The Trilogy of Jailolo, created in my hometown in North Maluku.
Over one year was quite a long time for having intense physical training. I literally started from zero; with no knowledge of anything related to dance and bodybuilding. My body was completely dismantled, I had to process it through physical exercises that I had never done before. For a year we were trained with great discipline that paid us with pain all over our bodies, including bruises, cuts, tears, and everything else.
Apart from the pain and a hint of suffering, we experienced plenty of joyful things such as playing on the beach, rolling around in the sand, cleaning the training ground together, eating fruits from the local regent’s tree, and many more.
A sense of kinship grew stronger from time to time as we were practising together. We were getting closer and getting to know each other better. Everything began in Kamran’s living room and kitchen, our first training ground before we moved to Saloi.
We normally trained while watching TV as it was a kind of entertainment that kept our spirits up. Our coach would start the training while holding a rattan stick used for whipping anyone who made mistakes or lazed around. Some even got sandals thrown at them. When it got on any of us, we often laughed and took it as a joke while working to correct the wrong part.
(Tika got a sandal thrown at her)
Dian : “Mampos, asal ngana bagara dari tadi salah ka tarada tuh! Hahahaha…”
Melan : “Ampong… padiiiis,”
Ega : “Weee biking bae-bae dah… jang konk sadiki dapa bage deng rotang tuh!”
Uny : “Hahahahahaha… iyo eee stop bagara dah serius,”
Tika : “Sagala Kamran saja konk tako tuh,”
Kamran : “Iyo ngoni ee kita lapor Mas E,”
Berlima : “Weeeeeh iyo dah, ini serius ini eee,”
Dian: “Take that! That’s what you get for messing around. Hahaha,”
Melan: “Ah, that stings!”
Ega: “Do it right! You don’t want to get hit with a rattan stick, right?”
Uny: “Hahaha, that’s right. Seriously, stop messing around.”
Tika: “It’s just Kamran; no need to be afraid?”
Kamran: “I’ll tell Mas E about this!”
All five: “Whooaaa, we gotta do it seriously.” (Panic)
That’s how it was, an excerpt from the many conversations we had during training, sometimes nonsense but at least it served as an encouragement for us.
Before I met Mas Eko, I had a comfortable life and I got full attention from my family, friends, and the people around me. I’m the only daughter and also the youngest in a family with two older brothers. All the extra attention and love are always on me. But my father and mother always teach me about kindness, caring for others whoever they are. That’s why I have grown as a person that always cares for others in any way without realizing it .
Being a dance student is one of the things I have never thought of. I could end up here as a student and learn about dance because of God and my family, my father, and mother who had always supported me whatever my decision is.
*conversations in the dining table*
Uny : “Uny lalah, brenti sudah kapa ee macam tra poha”
Mama : “Eee bikapa konk? So latihan lama konk”
Papa : “Tra boleh bagitu, itu ngana p keputusan dan ngana harus tanggung jawab, belajar dewasa deng musti kuat tra boleh manja, masa Cuma tarobe sadiki saja konk ngana menyerah, so bsar to musti belajar tanggungjawab dengan keputusan yang ngana so ambe, kse tunju kalo ngana bisa samua tuh butuh proses, sake deng luka tuh biasa ngana musti kuat”
Mama : “Iyo, batahan sudah ngana pasti bisa, papa deng mama dukung deng slalu kse berdoa pa ngana”
Uny: “I’m tired. Maybe I should quit. I can’t take it anymore.”
Mama: “Why? You’ve trained for so long.”
Papa: “Don’t be like that, that was your choice and you should be responsible, be an adult and be strong, don’t be spoiled. Just because you hurt your leg you wanted to quit, you’ve grown up, haven’t you? You need to learn to be responsible with your decisions, show that you’re able to do it, everything needs process, pain and hurt are normal, you have to be strong.”
Mama: “You can do it, Mom and Dad will support and pray for you at all time.”
Once I wanted to give up only due to a wound on my sole that I had always got after the Balabala dance practice. I just wanted to quit what had become my decision and commitment. The conversation on the dining table is one I never forget, I kept it all in my memory, the conversation that changed everything and brought me to a world I have never thought of, even a bit.
But it happened again when I was in college majoring in dance. I was required to perform Javanese dance so that I had to study harder. Since I started everything from scratch on this campus, I felt overwhelmed at the beginning. I encountered some things which were new to me such as jarik, long stagen, sampur and many other Javanese dance properties. It was an uncomfortable experience the first time I wore jarik and stagen wrapped around my body. I had to be able to perform this dance patiently, to dance at an extremely slow tempo while wearing jarik and stagen. Also, I had to adapt to friends and lecturers who like to use Javanese when speaking, so that I had a hard time understanding what the lecturers say in front of the class.
I was striving to understand every movement in Javanese dance, struggling to do mendhak, kengseran, srisig, ulap-ulap tawing and many other Javanese dance movements that were still extraneous to me at that time. I was far behind my friends and it made me think that I was lame.
At one point I felt tired, and stupid thoughts were popping out in my head. But once again I was saved, my friends cheered me up and they helped me when I had difficulties in dealing with Javanese dance. I have wanted to give up many times but in the end, I survived and it was because of the encouragement I got from people around me.
While in college, no matter how busy I was, I used to spare my time to go to church and pray. Even though I already have people caring and cheering me up, It’s only God who always sets me calm, peaceful and strong. It’s God who has sent good people to me.
I could be here because God sent Mas Eko to me. The process I had been through with Mas Eko has made me aware of many fortunes I got from there. It’s about how I learned many things and got out of my comfort zone to see what I have never seen before. I learned about discipline, how time matters, how to appreciate others, and many more. The point is, I only lost the comfort that I could gain back, but Mas Eko gave me many lessons that have built my character.
My friends at the campus like to help me and we learn together. I also find nice friends in my dormitory to whom I often confide in. At church, there are some people and spiritual companions who strengthen me and pray for me.
I learned the value of compassion, being compassionate and aware of other people is important. We never know what’s in one’s heart. I personally feel happy when people are aware of my existence and it feels warm when they acknowledge me and they care about me. Simply put, I’m trying to not treat others the way I don’t want to be treated. I’m trying to be as compassionate as possible because I know what it feels like to not receive compassion. If God can accept and love me as I am, why can’t I?
As a verse in my Bible, Matthew 22:39b that reads: “Love your neighbour as yourself”
¹ ‘Mas’ means ‘brother’ in Javanese language, Ed.