Ditta Miranda Jasjfi
At the age of twelve, Ditta Miranda Jasjfi saw a performance of The Rite of Spring in Jakarta, Indonesia – and never imagined that dancers such as Lutz Förster or Susanne Linke might become her colleagues one day. Born in 1967, she lived in Paris with her parents at the time and was frequently taken to the ballet. She recalls, “I could never sit still – I wanted to join in right away.” Back in Jakarta, she continued to take dance classes, studying ballet and other traditional dances from Bali, Sumatra and Western and Eastern Java that have shaped her movement quality to this day.
Although she initially only came to Germany to learn German at the Goethe-Institut, she took the opportunity to audition for the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen. She impressed the panel – and so it happened that Ditta Miranda Jasjfi moved to Europe and stayed. After studying dance in Essen for four years, she joined the Folkwang Tanzstudio in 1993, which at the time was jointly led by Pina Bausch and Lutz Förster. When she asked if she could transfer to the Tanztheater Wuppertal, Lutz Förster told her that she was too young. “Even though I was already 27!” Today, Ditta concedes that she looked very young at the time. In 1994, she went to Bremen for six years with Susanne Linke and Urs Dietrich. At another audition in 2000, she convinced Pina Bausch to accept her into the company. “Pina was sceptical at first, thinking I was too short. 1.5m might work for a solo, but in a group?” Eventually Ditta Miranda Jasjfi was cast in the role of The Chosen One in The Rite of Spring.
The movements were very different to anything she had known before. “In Bremen we worked with our legs and feet. Here it was the arms, the entire body. My whole body was in pain”. As well as learning The Rite of Spring, she worked on seven new creations with Pina Bausch from the year 2000 to Pina Bausch’s death in 2009, among them Full Moon, Ten Chi and For the Children of yesterday, today and tomorrow. The Indonesian dancer still remembers the first Tanztheater piece she saw in Germany – it was Palermo Palermo, shortly after she arrived in Essen. “I thought, this is totally crazy. It was new for me and I was shocked by what these people were doing on stage.” Her friend told her then in the interval: “You don’t have to try to understand it. Just watch and relax.” It’s a piece of advice that she is happy to pass on today.