Document(s): Reinventing Tradition: New Dance in Indonesia

“Reinventing Tradition: New Dance in Indonesia” is from the Document(s) series, a library of commentary on people and issues in the dance field. This repository of essays includes interviews by writers and thinkers on dance, as well as “dance discursions,” which offer opportunities for reflection on the field of dance commissioned by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

“Reinventing Tradition: New Dance in Indonesia” was a workshop series on cross-cultural practice that featured guest artists Sal Murgiyanto, Bambang Besur Suryono from Solo, Indonesia, and Aryani Manring from Philadelphia, in a program of cultural encounter that explored notions of the contemporary and the traditional in Indonesian dance. This paper, written shortly after the earthquake and tsunami devastated the province of Aceh in Indonesia, incorporates excerpts from two lectures—one delivered on February 7, 2005 at the Community Education Center in Philadelphia, and the other on February 9, 2005 at Swarthmore College by Sal Murgiyanto.

From the article:

“The people of Aceh, who’ve named their land the ‘veranda of Mecca,’ have reinvented their dance tradition. Reinvention or recreation of a tradition does not always occur in its place of origin, especially when the owners of the tradition are not ready for change. I want to bring your attention to the work of two Aceh migrants in Java (Jakarta and Solo). Creative development and open-mindedness are more nurtured in Java because the people are more receptive to development, and encounters with ‘the Other’ are actively encouraged, especially in the academic context.”

Download the article (PDF) >

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