Happy Salma explores traditional


Purwokerto, Central Java: A love of literature can lead to many things, as actress and model Happy Salma well knows.

After reading Ahmad Thohari’s trilogy Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk, she visited Banyumas, Central Java, to learn more about the area’s traditional dance, lengger or ronggeng, described in the trilogy.

The 29-year-old said Thohari’s story about ronggeng had inspired her to visit the traditional art center in Plana village.

Salma who has published two short story collections – Pulang (Return) (2006) and Telaga Fatamorgana (Lake of Fata Morgana) (2008) also visited the writer’s house.

“The ronggeng in Tohari’s novel is so down to earth, touching and realistic. Although the form of the traditional dance is now different, the substance is still the same. It’s happened to many art forms.”

After learning about the dance, the West Java native said, “It’s so dynamic, like many Balinese dances.” Salma said her visit to the center was connected to her performance in June. “I have been interested since I read Mas Tohari’s novel and I will perform the monologue of the story at Taman Ismail Marzuki in June,” Salma said. – JP

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