Indonesian Dance and Gambang Kromong Folk Art

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At the New York Times Travel Show, I managed to get to 95% of the booths on the show floor and while I received a warm and inviting response from everyone, there were a few stand-outs from a cultural perspective…in other words, exotic colors, costumes, food and music flew from their booths. Indonesia performed some colorful dances, gave me meatballs and bananas and consistent smiles every time I breezed past.

On Saturday, they performed the Nandak Ganjen Dance, a dance from Jakarta, strongly influenced by Chinese culture, a new creation originating from Gambang Kromong folk art. The dance depicts lively young girls celebrating their journey to adulthood, expressing happiness and freedom of a woman in the making. The Merak Dance is a female dance as well, and inspired by the beautiful movements of a peacock.

The Baris Mapatra Yudha Dance is one of the most important ritual dances in Bali (above) and it derives its name from the word “bebarisan” which literally means a line or file of formation. It refers to the ancient Balinese soldiers who were used by rajaraja, the Balinese kings to protect their kingdom in times of disturbance.  Aside from its ritualistic function, the baris is also known as the warrior drill dance.

The ritualistic function of this dance is to show physical maturity and it is performed by two to sixty dancers. This dance was re-choreographed by Prof. DR. I Made Bandem.

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