By UK/Indonesia 2016-18 team

21 November 2018 - 14:22

Subsequent to her participation at the 2016 Unlimited Festival, founder and executive director of, Mariska Febriyani, was inspired to establish the inclusive dance company, CANdoDANCE, in collaboration with UK’s Candoco. “Upon our return from Glasgow, and British Council began to brainstorm ideas on how to give back to the arts and disability scene in Indonesia. also happens to organise a biannual dance gala, and I thought, “Why not make the event more accessible to the public?” told Mariska.

This is the second year and Candoco have teamed up. This time around, they trained a group of disabled and non-disabled dancers from 4 Indonesian cities (Jakarta, Bandung, Malang and Bali), in addition to two Candoco dancers. The 12 dancers that took part in this year’s CANdoDANCE installment underwent a week-long residency program at the National Gallery of Jakarta, with 8-9 hours of rehearsal on a daily basis. “We performed the outcome of our rehearsals at Festival Bebas Batas, with the accompaniment of renowned Indonesian pianist and composer Ananda Sukarlan playing his original compositions,” elaborated Mariska.

Ananda himself expressed his excitement to take part in this year’s CANdoDANCE project, which used one of his original compositions titled ‘Rapsodia Nusantara #15’. “I composed that one especially for one-handed pianists,” he explained. “No composer had the idea to come up with piano pieces for disabled pianists,” he continued. “Even if it’s a very talented pianist, there are still very few pieces to study or perform. When I started to work with disabled children or children with special needs, I was inspired to come up with special pieces for them.”

Renowned pianist and composer, Ananda Sukarlan, played his original compositions to accompany CANdoDANCE performance at Festival bebas Batas.

In tandem with this year’s theme for the UK/ID Festival, Mariska is hoping that the CANdoDANCE project changes the public perception and breaks the proverbial boundaries that persist in the society that only the able-bodied are able to dance. 

“A lot of people are still under the impression that disabled dancers cannot take part in activities such as dancing. That is not true. With sufficient effort, I believe that we all are able and entitled to equal opportunities in all aspects of life,”

Mariska Febriyani - Founder and Executive Director of

The CANdoDANCE dancers themselves could not agree more. “For me, participating in this project means that all of us, whether we have disabilities or not, unleash our own boundaries in order to understand and learn from each other,” said Jasmine Okubo, who also founded and choreographs for the Bali-based KitaPoleng dance community. Meanwhile, another CANdoDANCE member, Heidy Dwiyanti Utami, also believes that the the same. “I hope that this program opens the public’s eye and makes people realise that even with our disabilities, we have the same rights in expressing ourselves through arts,” she inferred.