Sutra Dance Theatre presents the world premiere of Siddharta, an inter-spiritual and inter-lingual contemporary dance drama based on the novel by Hermann Hesse.

Created by the members of Teater Cahaya with artists from Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia, it was conceived, developed and produced by Alex Dea and Richard Emmert in association with Sutra Dance Theatre.

Dea is an avant-garde composer and gamelan-trained musician based in Central Java while Emmert is a Japanese noh theatre performer based in Tokyo. Other collaborators include internationally acclaimed noh actor Akira Matsui, Balinese-trained topeng dancer Tetsuro Koyano from Japan, multi-talented dancer and choreographer Didik Nini Thowok, Balinese arja performer Cok Pring, Balinese shadow-play master and dancer I Nyoman Sumandhi, Javanese gamelan expert Saptono, and Chinese-modern dancer Liangga from Indonesia.

Malaysian artists include makyong primadonna Mek Nab, and well known Malaysian contemporary dancers with strong traditional dance background – Guna, Syed Mustapha Syed Yasin, Zaridah Malik, January Low and Sri Mas Dewi.

Date/Time: 16 – 19 October 2003 @ 8.30pm

Venue: Auditorium Tunku Abdul Rahman
Malaysia Tourism Centre
Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur

16, 17 & 18 Oct – Public performance
Tickets available through AXCESS:
Hotline: 03-7491 9999
Online at:
All authorized AXCESS outlets

19 Oct – Charity Performance
Presented by World Chinese Women Association
Admission by invitation only
For information, call 03-7957 1333 (Catherine)

Sutra Dance Theatre: 03-4022 9669 (10am – 5pm weekdays only)
Address: Sutra Dance Theatre
12 Persiaran Titiwangsa 3, 53200 KL


A new collaborative dance-drama piece by Teater Cahaya

Based on the classic of 20th century literature by German novelist Hermann Hesse, ‘Siddhartha’ chronicles the spiritual evolution of a man living in India at the time of the Buddha. The novel is a spiritual journey that has inspired generations of readers of all religious persuasions. The present production based on the novel, is an inter-spiritual and inter-lingual contemporary dance drama featuring traditional performers from Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia who make up the company of Teater Cahaya.

Presented in KL by Sutra Dance Theatre, Teater Cahaya is a cross-national and cross-cultural theatre collective founded in 2001. Its members are traditional performers in their respective countries performing such traditional art forms as arja, topeng, bedoyo and gamelan from Indonesia, noh and shomyo from Japan, and bharata natyam and makyong from Malaysia.

Collaborations of contemporary performance artists throughout Asia have been increasing steadily over the last decade. Teater Cahaya is unique in that it brings together traditionally trained artists to work cooperatively without a director. By each taking turns directing, and each contributing to the overall process of scene-building, the performers have discovered and developed new intuitions and techniques. After five intense workshop-rehearsal sessions, Teater Cahaya’s performers have learned to maintain their own traditional approaches in their use of the body, the voice and the music, while bringing out the nuances and subtleness of emotive and theatrical interactions required by the play. The result is a combination of elements that is uniquely Asian-contemporary.

One of the featured artists of Teater Cahaya and of this world premiere of ‘Siddhartha’ is the well-known KL dancer and choreographer, Ramli Ibrahim. As a teacher and performer of the Indian classical dance forms of bharata natyam and odissi, Ramli has become synonymous with the elevated status of Indian classical dance in Malaysia. His sense of both the contemporary and the traditional as well as his experience in collaborative productions with a cross-section of Malaysian and Asian artists has been an important influence in establishing the style of Teater Cahaya.

Teater Cahaya and this production of ‘Siddhartha’ were conceived and developed by Alex Dea and Richard Emmert. Dea is the music director of the production while Emmert is co-director. Both perform in the production as well. They invited fellow Asian artists to gatherings in Yogya and Bali in February 200l for the first workshops. Since then, three other workshops have insured that through intense collaboration the performers are aware of each other’s traditions and excited by the contemporary echoes these traditions create when joined together.

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