Born in 1971 in Klaten, Central Java, Indonesia, Agung Gunawan is a renowned and established dancer, an artistic director, a choreographer and a vocalist.

Since he moved to the rural village of Pelem in East Java in 2008, he has been questioning and investigating the ever-changing boundaries and universal hallmarks of traditional, classical and contemporary Javanese arts and culture.  He is also seeking new forms of artistic expression engendered from ancient, indigenous Javanese wisdom and knowledge commonly used in the daily life of Pelem village.

He has received numerous nominations and awards both nationally and internationally, including 'The Best Feature Performance and The Best Choreographer' at the Cameronian Arts Awards (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 2013) and 'Best Choreographer' at Festival Wayang Wong Gaya (Yogyakarta, Indonesia:2009).

He was professionally trained and mentored for years by the legendary master Bagong Kusudiharjo and later by R.M. Ywandjono Suryobrongto and R.Ay. Sri Kadarjati in the form of classical court dance of Yogyakarta. From 2000 to 2006, he worked as an assistant  choreographer with Martinus Miroto at the Miroto Dance Company. During this time, he was nvolved in the production of 'Opera Java', a film directed by Garin Nugroho while touring across the globe.


Currently, he is based in the rural village in Pacitan City, East Java, as a co-director of Sampang Agung Centre of Performing Arts (SACPA), and a choreographer of Breathing Forest Dance Theatre while continuosly touring numerous countries for performances and projetcs.

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Co-director DEASYLINA DA ARY (PhD)


Born in Pacitan, East Java, Deasylina da Ary (PhD), started dance training at the age of five under the guidance of her father, the founder of the first local dance school at Pelem village, Pacitan.  After having graduated with a  Bachelor of Dance degree from the State University of Surabaya in 2003, she continued her studies and completed Master of Arts in 2007 She was awarded a PhD in 2017 by the Indonesia Institute of Arts, Surakarta, for her thesis on the 'Pacitanian' (Environment Oriented Art Education Model).


Deasylina's inspiration for performance making always starts from a simple yet critical observations of daily life practices in the cultural, religious and indigenous landscapes of the village of Pelem, which range from child' play, farming scenes, and the objects and tools used in daily life, from which, she argues, an original quality of aesthetics emerges. Along with the artistic and performative methodologies she has developed over a number of years, her chorographical movements, accents and rhythms largely spring from her instinctive inspiration.  That she has been able to discern the unique and distinctive movements of each dancer in the Breathing Forest Dance Theatre company, does contribute to the power and originality of her choreography.       

She is currently teaching in the Faculty of Art Education (Dept. of Elementary School Teacher Education)  at Semarang State University, while, every Sunday, she has been continuously teaching and mentoring the young dancers who will make up the next generation in Pelem village, where she is a co-director of the SACPA centre with her partner, Agung Gunawan.  

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Born in Pelem Village, Pacitan, East Java, Johan is an established musician, composer and vocalist.  His musical career started at the age of six with his father, Sukarman, and later, he enrolled in the ethnomusicology degree and was awarded Master of Music Arts Studies at the Indonesian Institute of Arts (ISI) Surakarta.


His ongoing passion is to explore the authentic and distinctive power of the sounds that each instrument and voice manifests, and to delicately interweave them into perfect sonic narratives.  His compositional approach, therefore, focuses on the feelings and senses he perceives while being around the natural environment of the rural farming village in Pelem.  Such sonic elements from the landscape can be distinguished in the local language which contains some distinctive pronunciation and also in the unique sounds of specific instruments used and made in Pelem.


The compositions he has created are divided into two forms, that is, music to accompany dance performances and music for musicalconcerts.  One of his compositions, Ruung Sarung won the 'Best Composition' award at the regional and national level (2004: Surabaya & 2005 Jakarta).

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