Artist’s Biography of Workshop Instructors:

Murtala S. Sn

Murtala was born in Aceh on 01/12/78.  He studied traditional Acehnese dance from the age of 11 at the Banda Aceh Culture Centre and at the MANDAYA dance school, headed by Syech Wan Cem Pala.  At MANDAYA he learnt the dances Rapai Geleng, Likok Pulo, Ratoh Bantai,  and Ratoh Duek and mastered several musical instruments.  In 1998 he commenced studies in dance at the Indonesian Tertiary Arts School in Padang Pajang, specialising in traditional dance, and graduated in 2004.

 Following the Tsunami he founded the NGO ‘Taloe’ (Traditional Arts Lecture Organisation) and served as director for a program of teaching traditional arts as healing for children affected by trauma from the tsunami and long-term conflict in Aceh.  He also served for one year as the third deputy director of the Aceh Arts Council in the field of research and traditional arts development.

In 2006 he began studying Dance Choreography in the post-graduate program at the Indonesian Arts Institute (ISI) in Surakarta.  From July – September 2007 he travelled to Australia on invitation to teach traditional Acehnese dance in schools around the country.  He returned to Surakarta to resume his Masters degree, concurrently teaching Acehnese dance to ISI students. His student dance group makes regular performances, including a show for the Sultan of Yogyakarta in December 2007.

In 2008 he completed his Masters degree in choreography at ISI through a project of teaching dance to deaf and blind children in Aceh. His aim for this project was;

“to create a space for deaf and blind children to explore their creativity through the medium of dance, thus forming a methodology which can be used by artists anywhere, to teach dance to the deaf and blind.”

For his final exam he presented dance performance by the deaf and blind children entitled “Moving from the heart”.


Deva Permana is an established local Indonesian percussionist and teacher who performs with several successful bands around Sydney and teaches traditional Indonesian music with Musica Viva to schools around NSW. He will teach us the basic principles of interlocking. From Gamelan to Talempong, interlocking is the central principle of Indoneisan music. It has rich metaphorical relationships with Indonesian social structure as well as other Indonesian arts and crafts. Interlocking is more than a musical concept, it is a symbol of our ability to cooperate and collaborate.