The Sampang Agung Centre for Performing Arts (SACPA) at Pelem village in East Java (Indonesia), strives for the preservation of Javanese cultural heritage and traditions, and its members are also committed to further exploration on new artistic ways of expression submerged within such heritage and also the contemporary arts. They aim too achieve this by promoting experimental collaboration with multi-disciplinary inter/national artists in the spiritual & historical environment of the locality.
With its strong commitment to providing performing arts education for young local dancers and musicians for the past 35 years, the SACPA exists as a meeting place of various artists and locals, for all to learn, share, observe, reflect upon, be challenged by and support each other, with the ultimate aim of creating innovative praxis in the realms of the traditional, classical and contemporary performing arts.
SACPA was founded in 2016, however the history of this arts centre stretches back to well before this. In 1980, Mr Sukarman (the father of the current co-director of SACPA, Deasylina da Ary) opened its predecessor, a unique local dance school called, Sanggar Seni Pradapa Loka Bhakti. After Mr Sukarman retired from the position in 2008, Agung Gunawan and Deasylina da Ary succeeded him as co-directors and started teaching various aspects of life skills such as discipline, respect for others, mutual assistance, and communication through dance and Gamelan music pratices and performances.
In 2013, the dance school changed its name to LKP Seni Pradapa Loka Bhakti (the LKP Seni PLB) in accordance with the introduction of new regulations by the Indonesian Education authorities. Since then, Agung and Deasylina have initiated a more comprehensive art school curriculum with a broader range of art subjects, such as music, visual art, media art, contemporary dance, choreography and event management.
The LKP Seni PLB has continuously received numerous national awards, including one of the most prestigious awards in Indonesia at the high school level: 'Best Performance' and 'Bestc Choreographer' at the High School Dance Festival (at Pelembang, Sumatra Selatan 2015). Meanwhile, in order to explore and create new forms within the artistic arena, while stepping outside the framework of Javanese traditional dance and music methodologies, Agung and Deaslina tirelessly invite multi-disciplinary artists from both inside and outside Indonesia.
In 2013, the stand-alone project, Sampang Agung Project (the S.A. Project) commenced with the aim of creating more expansive, innovative and transformative spaces which reflect the history, culture, local practices and spirit of the native Javanese landscape in Pelem village. In 2013, the first performing arts festival, Full Moon Festival, was launched for local dancers from the youngest through to the older generations. It was a great success, attracting 4,000 people on the night.
In February 2016, after a series of consultations with fellow artists and local communities, Agung and Deasylina decided to consolidate all programs and festivals under the one overarching umbrella: thus the Sampang Agung Centre for Performing Arts (the SACPA) was conceived. In September 2016, its first international performing arts festival, Pelem Festival, was held at Pelem village, celebrating the opening of new performance spaces to the public.