Jakarta. This year, Christmas may not seem as beautiful as it was in the previous years. With a lot of sad and worrisome news from all over the world and within the country, some of us may not be feeling the joy of the season.
But joy can still be found at the shopping malls of Jakarta. With lavish Christmas decorations and special programs, the malls are doing their best to encourage people to their establishments to celebrate the festive season.
This year, Grand Indonesia in the heart of the city welcomes the festive season with a special "Christmas Gift' program.
"It is a simple and appropriate theme, as Christmas has always been known as a season for giving and sharing," Kantoro Permadi, senior marketing manager at the mall, said.
The mall will offer a series of special gifts and surprises for customers as well as continue the annual tradition of hosting performances from international groups.
The season, the mall will host the Balloon Man from Argentina and Canada's Swift High Bar. The international shows were previewed to the media and visitors of the mall on Friday (09/12).
The Swift High Bar opened the show with an exhilarating acrobatic performance from Andree Rainville, Shovane Brisindi and Vincent Poliquin-Simms.
At the fountain atrium the three climbed high poles and put on costumes. Brisindi and Rainville were dressed in elaborate white ball gowns like snow queens, while Poliquin-Simms was dressed as a prince.
On top of the five meter poles, the performers danced to "Once Upon a December" while the poles gently swayed. The music changed to jazzy dance tunes, with the moves becoming more vigorous and rocking the poles. The audience gasped in fear and excitement.
"[The poles] are totally safe," Vincent Poliquin-Simms said after the show. "They're made of fiber glass, they don't break."
From below, the performers, dancing and swinging in their big costumes while being suspended on thin poles, seemed magical.
"We want to share magical moments with the audience here," said Rainville. "We're bringing winter's storm and icy winds from Canada."
At certain points, the poles swayed so low that the performers could shake hands with the children watching the show below.
"We want to wow the kids and inspire them to something extraordinary," Poliquin-Simms said.
"And also for the adults, it's a time to dream, awaken the little kid inside, and just have fun," said Brisindi.
In the second act, Rudy Güemes, the Balloon Man, started the show juggling half a dozen of crystal balls to a dreamy Christmas music playing in the background.
The music changed suddenly to rock, as the performer stripped his metallic green magician's costume to a black bodysuit.
With a handheld blower, Güemes made a huge white balloon, which grew so big and swallowed his entire body. With Güemes inside, the balloon danced and twirled around the stage. After a couple of minutes, the balloon pulsated, and then, burst, revealing the performer, already dressed as Santa.
The audience broke into a rapturous applause.
"The hardest part of the performance was holding my breath inside the balloon while dancing and changing clothes at the same time," the performer said.
Güemes has been performing magic tricks and balloon acts since his early teens. With his art, the 34-year-old toured Argentina, South America and Europe before coming to Indonesia.
"It's my first time here," he said. "And after 27-hour flight, I'm very happy to see the great, enthusiastic crowd during my show."
The 30-minute show takes place at the fountain atrium in the West Mall daily, except Monday, at 7 p.m. During weekends, there are two shows daily at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
You, too, can participate in the giving and sharing at the mall this Christmas. Until Dec. 31, you can drop in new or pre-loved clothing, books and toys to the red box at the Arjuna Lobby of Grand Indonesia West Mall.
"We'll donate them to less fortunate kids through a charity foundation," said Annisa Hazarini, public relations coordinator of Grand Indonesia.