Whenever nine-year-old Miyu Ananthamaya Pranoto stomps her white sneakers on the dance floor, crowds jostle for the best view of her freestyle and breakdance moves.
The diminutive dance prodigy from East Jakarta has gained a massive following for her effortless mastery of moves that are bread and butter for dancers twice or even thrice her age – and height.
Sporting baggy clothes and with her hair tied in a tight bun, Miyu is charting a rare path for girls in conservative Indonesia, where the dance scene is well behind other Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan.
And her parents are fully supportive. “Miyu’s dream is our dream. Whatever her goal is, it is also our goal in life,” says her mother Rizky Mellissa.
At a recent international contest in Vietnam, one of Miyu’s performances went viral on YouTube with 45 million views.
After that breakout appearance at the Summer Jam Dance Camp in Da Nang, her Instagram followers doubled overnight to 217,000.
Semmy Blank, Miyu’s dance mentor, said her talent and passion makes it easy for Miyu to learn difficult moves by heart. “It’s not hard for me to teach a person like Miyu. Compared to adults, I think she really can top them as a freestyler and her skills improve really fast in terms of foundation, technique and musicality.”
At a recent dance class in East Jakarta, Miyu took centre stage.
With Kid Ink’s You Remind Me and Duckwrth’s Power Power blaring from Bluetooth speakers, Miyu stomped and glided across the dance floor. Even when other dancers were out of breath, she kept going, repeating each step over and over until she got it right.
Always eager to learn, Miyu asked a classmate for pointers on a difficult breakdance move – spinning on the floor before hopping back up on her legs.
The class ended with Miyu’s classmates swarming her for selfies. She politely obliged.