London, 13 February 2018 – Last night, The Embassy of The Republic of Indonesia in London was lit up by the magnificent performance of Balinese dancing and puppetry, proudly carried out and orchestrated by Professor I Nyoman Sedana. This event was a collaboration with Anglo-Indonesian Society. Although born and raised in Bali, Professor Sedana had spent close to ten years pursuing undergraduate and master’s degree in cultural studies at Ivy League University in the United States. Now, he is the lecturer of Indonesian Art Institute Denpasar, an education body in Bali that focus on various art and cultural studies, including music, photography, and dancing.
The splendid event was opened with welcoming remarks by Charles Humfrey, Chairman of Anglo-Indonesian Society, and followed by a short lecture on Balinese dancing by Professor Sedana who mentioned about five elements in the traditional Balinese dancing that are different according to its purposes, while at the same time, also interconnecting. These elements are wiraga, wirama, wirasa, wiguna, and wibawa. Wiraga concerns about body movement, postures, and gestures. Wirama focuses on music and rhythms, while Wirasa interested in feelings. In contrast, Wiguna explored the usefulness of the particular dance, such as to complement sacred rituals, meditation, and important ceremony. The last element which also one of the most important is Wibawa that balances out every other cosmic element in a dance.
During the event, guests were invited to join Professor Sedana on stage, performing a simple dancing gesture. Not only accompanied by the nice rhythm of traditional Balinese music, Professor Sedana also sang in English and demonstrated fable narrative that is told through the dance. The most fascinated one was the story of the Balinese prince and princess. The story also illustrated about an evil demon that wanted to marry the princess who did not reciprocate the same feeling.
Near the end of the show, Professor Sedana performed a spectacular puppetry that was followed by an admiring gasp from the crowd. This workshop is highly interactive. In fact, Professor Sedana is amusing and enjoyable, telling jokes every now and then that makes the crowd cheer and laugh. The guests also showed their high enthusiasm, especially during Q&A sessions. Clearly, they have a strong cultural appreciation and great admiration towards Indonesian culture and the long history of Indonesia as a nation.
For those who are interested and would like to deepen their knowledge of Balinese culture, Professor Sedana is holding lectures at Royal Holloway London every Tuesday until March 2018. Furthermore, the Professor also leads numerous workshops and seminars on Balinese dancing and puppetry in Indonesian Embassy in London during his short stay. (SE/ODP)