French Dancer Praises Hospitality Extended by Indonesians

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Jakarta/LEI – Professional French actress, model, and dancer Magali Saby praised Indonesians’ hospitality toward the disabled community, including herself, who will perform at the 2nd Indonesian Ballet Gala, on Sept 23, in Taman Ismail Marzuki Theater, Jakarta.

“Unlike Indonesian people who are warm and caring, mainly toward the disabled community, French people are more individualistic. I believe we (French people) still have issues in maintaining solidarity among different people,” Saby, aged 31, who was born with an impaired motor function or Celebral Palsy, stated in Jakarta, Friday.

Although the French government has provided adequate facilities to the disabled community, Saby, who was part of the group, admits to still facing challenges at the workplace and other public spaces in terms of receiving equal treatment.

“Despite lauding me as a multi-talented artist, most people would only acknowledge me as a disabled dancer,” she remarked, while adding that she sometimes received a lower wage as compared to the other “normal” workers.

In order to promote equal rights for the disabled community in the field of arts, Saby got involved in some dance and theater projects in several countries, including Indonesia.

On Sept 23, Saby along five other Indonesian dancers — Johan Sun, Citamutia Arsyani Salim, Nudiandra Sarasvati, Irfan Setiawan, and John Marcy Putra Pattiwael — will perform the “La Fille de l’air,” or Girl in the Air, dance performance at the ballet gala termed as the first-ever dance event to promote diverse disabled and non-disabled talent in Jakarta.

Moreover, Saby will attend several seminars and workshops to be held in Jakarta, Bandung, and Bali as a speaker.

“Before visiting Indonesia, I have performed in Greece, Turkey, Belgium, the UK, and Germany. I believe that performing overseas remains important to aesthetically enhancing my senses, as I will witness different cultures and traditions every time I travel abroad,” Saby noted during a seminar at the French cultural center, Institut Français d’Indonésie, in Jakarta, Thursday.

“I feel proud to be here (in Indonesia), to deliver a positive message to the Indonesian people, mainly to the disabled community, through my profession as a dancer. I fight for this (the equality of the disabled rights) every day,” she remarked.

Saby expressed hope that her first visit to Indonesia would help to encourage all members of the disabled community to stand up for their rights and to never fear to be who they are.

“Never be afraid of being yourselves. We should praise our limitations, because none of our weaknesses determine our true identity in society. Being different (to normal people) is a blessing. We should be proud of our conditions, because it is what makes us rich as human beings,” Saby stated while addressing people with disabilities.

“The most precious moment was when I was on the stage dancing. I never feel like a disabled person, but as a professional dancer, an actress, who entertains the audiences,” she reiterated.

Besides being an actress and dancer, Saby has also published a book on women’s representation in Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch in 2013. The book was based on a research during her master’s program in Theater Studies, Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle University. (/Ant)

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