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Jakarta Post

Rain is a blessing

Tue, February 13, 2018   /   11:20 am
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    Dancers from the Pasah Pambelon studio of Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, perform the Mempisik Hujan during the International Rain Festival in Kartasura, Central Java. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    A percussion player from the Kentrung Rock N Roll Solo community practices before performing the Nyi Ageng Serang arrangement. The site where Nyi Ageng Serang fought against Dutch colonialism decades ago is now the Kedung Ombo dam in Purwodadi, Central Java. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    An installation of dried coconut leaf webbing symbolizes rain as a blessing for all creatures. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    The Sedulur Banyu community of Klaten, Central Java, presented plastic containers used to process rain into alkaline water. Pastor Vicentius Kirjito has taught the people on the slopes of Mount Merapi in Klaten, Central Java, to process rainwater into clean water. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    A girl photographs an art installation in the backyard of the Mugi Dance studio during the festival. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    Twenty-one- year-old Unik Cahyani from the Peni studio prepares to perform the Tuk Tuk Dung dance. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    Young girls showcase clothes made of plastic during the festival. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    Unik Cahyani performs the Tuk Tuk Dung at the festival. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    Young girls walk back to the dressing room, passing mannequins wearing plastic. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    The Kaliba, a musical instrument from Bali, accompanies the Tek Tek Dung dance. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    A workshop on verticulture, which enables people to plant food vertically to overcome limitations of space, was also part of the festival. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    Dancers from the Dipaba studio, led by Nungki of Yogyakarta, perform the Dipaba dance. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

Magnus Hendratmo

The annual International Rain Festival took place for the fourth time at the outdoor space of the Mugi Dance Studio, owned by contemporary dancer Mugiyono Kasido in Pucangan, Kartasura, Central Java, on Jan. 14.

Rain began to fall in the early morning that day, but that did not stop the people from walking over the grass, which looked like a giant green carpet welcoming them.

“The philosophy of the rain festival is to express our gratitude [to God] for the rain,” Mugiyono said.

He added that people tended to be lazy during rainy days and failed to realize that raindrops were good for the skin.
The festival kicked off at 10 a.m. and ended at 10 p.m. Dancers from inside and outside the country flocked the studio to show their performances.

The Mempisik Hujan Dance, which was presented by five dancers from the Pasah Pambelon studio of Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, was one of the dances performed that day. The dance tells the story of inhabitants of a drought-stricken village asking God to give them rain so that their paddy could grow well.

Dancer Unik Cahyani of Peni studio in Boyolali, Central Java, performed the Tuk Tuk Dung dance, accompanied only by the percussion. The dance reflects people’s gratitude for the rain. Unik, 21, is a student of Semarang State University’s School of Javanese Language and Literature in Semarang. She has performed in Dubai and
Russia, among other places.

Dipaba Modern Dance, coached by Nungki of Yogyakarta, also stole the spotlight. “The umbrella symbolizes that many people are afraid of the rain,” one of the spectators commented on the Dipaba dance.

The Gropesh Solo community, led by Denok Wulan, showcased plastic-made fashion under the applause of the audience. She said society needed to become aware of the danger of plastic waste.

“If we don’t care, the Earth will be filled with plastic waste,” she added.
Photographers were also waiting for the rain. Nico Haryono, a Yogyakarta-based freelancer, hoped for heavy rain during the show. He argued that he would be able to capture the essence of the dance according to the theme of the festival.

The festival has shown how rain keeps nature alive. [yan]