The Jakarta Post
On April 29 at 6 a.m., under the huge gapura (doorless gates) at the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) Surakarta in Central Java, three dancers — Anter Asmorotedjo, Asep Sulaeman and Danang Pamungkas — slowly moved their bodies in contrasting yet harmonious motions. And they continued to do so until 6 a.m. the next morning.
The dance was part of the 24-hour Solo Menari (Solo Dances) event held in several locations. In addition to ISI Surakarta, the Pamedan Pura Mangkunegaran and the Triwindu Market area also hosted stages for thousands of dancers from hundreds of dance studios and communities.
The event was opened with the Garuda Naga and Bedhaya Gayatri dances presented by ISI Surakarta. Offering contemporary choreography, the opening act featured female dancers who performed traditional and modern styles. Several traditional dances followed the act, including the elegant yet sensual Lengger Dance from Banyumas, Central Java.
Almost 5,000 dancers from hundreds of dance studios in Surakarta and cities across the country participated in the event, traveling from East Java, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Bali, Aceh, Sulawesi, Kalimantan and Papua. One group even hailed from Malaysia.
With "Celebrating the Body's Migration" as its theme, this year's Solo Menari festival offered more opportunities for dance studios and communities to express themselves. Last year's event involved only 70 entries; this year that number grew to 180.
"Through the body, humans build aesthetic. By dancing, they move from one place to another. Dancing is more than just moving your body, it also delivers life values and builds character," said the event's chairman Dwi Wahyudiyarto.
Solo Menari itself is part of the World Dance Day celebration, which falls on April 29 and was recognized by UNESCO in 1982.
April 29 is the birth date of modern ballet figure Jean George Noverre, who was born in 1727. (kes)