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Jakarta Post

Pendet, the dance that rocks the cradle

Jakarta   /   Fri, August 28 2009   /  10:27 am

All embracing: The Pendet is a Balinese dance intended to dissolve barriers, although in the past week it has led to international conflict. JP/Lukman SBThe Pendet is meant to be the dance that embraces. It is supposed to vanquish any barriers, cultural or otherwise, that lie between the host and the guest. This week, however, the Pendet became the very thing that triggered the creation of such barriers.

The Balinese have responded to the use of the Pendet in a TV spot for the Discovery Channel’s special series Enigmatic Malaysia with a mixed sense of anger and disbelief. The spot’s use of the ad implicitly claims that the dance is part of Malaysia’s cultural heritage.Following a flurry of street protests, emergency meetings between local government officials and cultural historians, and rising demands that the government take a firmer diplomatic stance on the matter, both t...