Kita Dance Company

Teachers' Notes

:: Performing Arts of China
:: Celebrations
:: Tricky Tales
:: Martial Funk: Martial Arts and Dance
:: Myths and Monsters of the Orient
:: Tales of the Moon... and other oriental adventures
:: Journey through Asia

Martial Funk: Asian martial arts and dance past and present

Martial FunkFrom Kung Fu and Tai Chi to Tae Kwon Dance and Hip Hop Funk, this show introduces Asian culture past and present through martials arts and dance. Kita's highly skilled dancers present the performing arts of China, Korea and Indonesia with a very participatory show that introduces weapons such as swords, flags and fans of the past, and snappy footwork and fast pace of present day Asia.

Tekno Silat (Indonesia)

Penchak Silat is Indonesia's traditional martial art form; a type of self-defence that combines kicking, punching, grabbing, locking and several weapon-techniques. It has a graceful and dynamic hard-soft style, which emphasises agility, explosiveness and flexibility in combination with the surprise effect. All these aspects go hand in hand with traditional Indonesian values such as brotherhood, self-discipline, politeness, loyalty and respect for others. Pencak Silat has four aspects;

Pencak Silat originated in the Indonesian-Malaysian archipelago, perhaps as long ago as 800 AD. Over the centuries, it has changed and developed into many different forms. Now, there are at least 800 different Pencak Silat styles practiced in Indonesia and around the world.

In our show, choreographer Soepri adds a contemporary flavour to Pencak Silat with some Tekno music and style.


Weapon Dance (China)

Our weapon dance includes props traditionally used by Kung Fu warriors as weapons; these might include fans, dusters, knives, single or double swords and flags.

Kung Fu Shun; Iron fan dance
This dance is called Iron fan, though the fan is made of silk and bamboo, because the dancer's movement are so sharp and strong, the fan makes a cracking sound like iron. The power of the fan handled this way is so strong, it could be used to decapitate enemies!

Flag dance
Often used in acrobatic demonstrations, the flag dance shows the power and strength of handling and synchronizing flags as an art form. This dance combines martial arts and modern music to maintain the traditional dignity of carrying flags to battle.

Tai Chi Sword dance
The Tai Chi sword form, or Tai Chi Chuan, is taught as a developmental exercise, utilizing relaxation and extension of energy. it is perfected to bring the mind and body into harmony. This dance fuses the art form of Tai Chi sword techniques with traditional Chinese dance to present a refreshing twist on the ageless art of Tai Chi. Both old and modern moves are combined with mastery of the Tai Chi sword to demonstrate the versatility of traditional Chinese culture.


Books about Kung Fu - hundreds of them!

Breakpong (Indonesia)

Martial FunkBreakpong is a style of contemporary dance developed by Soepri. It combines contemporary breakdance with Jaipong, a modern dance form very popular in Indonesia, especially western Java. Jaipong itself is a hybrid, based on Ketuk Tilu, a traditional dance style, combined with the traditional Indonesian martial art form Pencak Silat, and sometimes including improvisation by the dancer. The jaipong or jaipongan dance began as an unchoreographed social dance, and has since become formalised with specific movements for performances at family festivals and official events. The music that accompanies this part of 'Breakpong' is Rambuk kenchang, group drumming.



Tae Kwon Mu (Martial Arts dance - Korea)

Tae Kwon MuTae Kwon Do is a traditional (non sport-oriented) martial art from Korea. Tae means to 'kick' or 'strike with the foot'. 'kwon' means fist or 'strike with the hand' and 'do' means 'discipline' or 'art'. Tae Kwon Do developed as a style of martial arts performed only with the natural weapons of fists, hands and feet. It was during the Koryo Dynasty (AD 935 to 1392) that unarmed combat study gained its popularity and was practiced both by military personnel and the general public. It was during this period that the art was first technically organized and systematized by the royal family to present demonstrations and matches annually at the Royal Court.

The philosophies of Tae Kwon Do are based upon a constant striving for personal excellence. The goal is to become an honourable person with perfect character and physical condition. To realize the ultimate benefits of Tae Kwon Do, one must practice it daily in both efforts and actions, and commit to it for a lifetime. The Martial Arts skills learned in Tae Kwon Do are to be used to prevent conflict and violence. Never should a Tae Kwon Do student initiate physical conflict with another. Essentially, Tae Kwon Do students are expected to be model citizens and work for the betterment of their community and mankind.

In Korea, a style of dance based on Tae Kwon Do has become popular. Children learn Tae Kwon Mu (Tae Kwon dance)it in classrooms, students learn it at university and adults learn it in gyms. Our dancers present the basic Tae Kwon Do moves of stances, blocks, strikes and kicks as 'Mu' or dance.


Poco-Poco dance (Sulawesi, Indonesia)

Martial FunkThis very popular social dance was created about 20 years ago to accompany a new pop-song called Poco-poco. The lyrics describe a man's admiration of the beautiful women of Minahasa. The man's attention made the women feel shy and embarrassed, and these feelings are mirrored in their dance movements. But the dance also shows the farming activities of the people in Minahasa, including picking cloves, planting the padi (rice), hoeing the fields and peeling the coconut fibre.

Because the Poco-poco dance is so popular throughout Indonesia, it has been integrated into aerobic classes in many fitness centres and at dance schools. It has become one of many dances that young and old want to learn. Throughout Indonesia many organisations hold a Poco-poco dance competition. It is also a popular dance for many different celebrations such as weddings, birthdays and Independence Day.

One story about Poco-Poco's popularity tells of how it was once used to cool down anti-government protestors. Washington Post correspondent Alan Sipress explained this: "During the final weeks of General Suharto's dictatorial rule four years ago, as thousands of student protesters streamed into the streets demanding his ousting, Indonesia's riot police found that force could no longer cow the crowds. So they cranked up the loudspeakers, put on the poco-poco and asked the students to dance. Sipress wrote, "suddenly confronted with the irresistible rhythms of Indonesia's eastern islands," the demonstrators began to "prance with the police" and "tensions briefly melted." The poco-poco, however, has "gone on to greater glory, capturing hearts and hips" across Indonesia.

Spirit of Kita

Martial FunkOur final item includes all of our performers. It begins with a section of traditional dance from each of our cultures and ends on a contemporary note with a modern choreography of our shared experience in Australia. The first section of the dance begins with a traditional west Javanese dance performed by Soepri, followed by Seung Hi's 'Sunrise Dance' from Korea and Sabrina's Weapon Dance in which she shows two different type of soft tools, a duster and a sword, that are used as weapons in Chinese Kung-Fu.

The second part of 'Spirit of Kita' includes all of the dancers together performing contemporary dance that they have learned since coming to Australia. Near the end, they use their bodies to draw in the air, the letters of the word 'Kita', our company's name and an Indonesian word that means 'we'. They perform this in canon, that is, one after the other. Did you see it?


In Spirit of Kita, the dancers drew the word Kita in their air with their bodies.

You could use your name as a basis for creating a dance. Using any part of your body that you like, try to write the letters of your name in the air. Now find a way to join those letters together to create your own movement signature.

You can perform this name dance without music accompaniment, or you might like to choose a piece of music to go with it. Experiment with different music to see how the mood of music affects your movements.

Partner/small group work: Now you might like to pair up with a friend or small group and create another signature dance using the letters of a word you choose. You might choose a word that is something both of you like, such as 'music', 'beach' or 'footy', or it might be something about your life, such as 'school' or 'winter'.

Create a movement sequence: using the letters from that word, create a movement sequence (several movement joined together). Now try to express the word in a different way: think about that word, perhaps make a list of all the things you can think of. For eg. if you were making a dance about 'beach', you might write waves, sand, hot, rockpools, fish…

Now see how you might express some of those ideas with movement . You might make large wavy movements for waves, small hopping ones for hot sand or quick darting ones for fish. Then find a way to join the ideas together so that the different movements flow together easily. Choose some suitable music and voila, you have your very own original choreography.

Presenting: Perform your dance for your class. You might like to see if your classmates can guess what the dance was about after they have seen it, or you might like to tell them before you start so they can look out for some of the movements that they are going to see.

Class discussion: when your dance is over, your classmates can tell you the things they saw in your dance, especially the aspects they enjoyed. They might have seen things that you intended they see, or they might see things you weren't expecting.

Writing activity:
When you have finished you could write down your thoughts about the process of creating your dance. Why did you choose your topic? How did it feel trying to turn that idea into a dance? Did adding music make it easier or harder to create your dance? What was it like working with another person: did that make it harder or easier for you? How do you feel about your dance now that it is over? Were you happy with what you created? What was it like getting feedback from your classmates? Did they see the dance the way you intended?


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