It was the special lighting that gave the ArtJog stage at the Jogja National Museum an unusually mystical impression, with incense lit in the middle of the stage.
A pregnant woman emerged, walking slowly while spreading rose petals around the stage. Then, a male dancer wearing a costume of a daemon came out. This daemon shadowed the birth of the baby.
It was the beginning of the “Bali Jawi” dance repertoire by Anter Asmorotejo at the end of May. Bali Jawi means back to Javanese culture. It was a message for Indonesians not to forget their culture despite the foreign influences.
“I’ve seen our people prefer to adopt foreign culture and even feel embarrassed about their own culture,” he said after the performance.
Anter said that, through the dance, he wanted to invite the younger generation to look back at history. Cultural appreciation has been preserved by our ancestors since centuries ago.
“Today, we often judge those who lit incense as polytheist. It is actually part of our culture. Therefore, I deliberately lit the incense to create the atmosphere for the Bali Jawi dance and to remind us to remember our Creator,” he said.
The Bali Jawi dance was performed by the Anters Dance troop. It depicts how God not only created humankind but also other creatures to complement each other. Therefore, we as humans must respect and appreciate those creatures. [yan]