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Summer Dance Camp 2019 – Traditional Contemporary

Danang SDC 2019

What in the world is Traditional Contemporary??? Even the term itself seems contradictory, if it’s traditional, then how come it’s contemporary? Don’t worry, Summer Dance Camp 2019 had the best intensive course to get straight into this weird genre, taught by a great teacher!


In a sense, Traditional Contemporary has existed since a long time ago. The essence of the genre is centered on moves and concepts found in traditional Indonesian dances from across the region. These moves and concepts are then utilized through approaches found in more modern or contemporary dance movements. These efforts to incorporate the traditional spirit into a more familiar form to the current audience has been generated by countless Indonesian artists through the years, as a part of the large effort to continue the heritage of movements and dances of the area.


Some pieces and dances have made itself into a part of the traditional canon, like the “Bebalihan” genre of Balinese dances that were based on the more sacred dances for religious ceremonies but formed into a tourist-friendly spectacle, or “Bajidor Kahot”, a Sundanese performance piece that is based on the more traditional Jaipong and Ketuk Tilu. We now often hear of the “Tari Kreasi” genre, which takes strong roots on traditional dances but created and adapted for the current audience of the region. Traditional Contemporary is one of the terms we use now to specify the dances that are created with the traditional spirit and movements in its core but utilizing more Western-based ballet or contemporary approach. 


In Summer Dance Camp 2019, Danang Pamungkas taught an intensive, 8-hour dance course based on the “greget” spirit found in traditional Javanese dances. Danang Pamungkas is not only a notable dancer trained in the Mangkunegaran Royal Palace academy, but has also contributed to the contemporary scene through performing, creating, and joining international dance events and companies. Most notably, he was part of the Cloud Gate Company, a Taiwan-based contemporary company known worldwide for its strong conceptual performances and the physical prowess of its dancers. 


Through the 8-hour course, participants were able to discover their core strength and utilize it through the traditional Javanese spirit. The course combined the core spirit of “greget” and the participants’ Western contemporary dance roots, through tai chi exercises, traditional Javanese hand gestures, and a more holistic approach in moving the body. Participants were not pushed to be picture perfect or identical, rather they were pushed to be more sensitive to their own bodies and learned how to not create movements from the outside but channel their bodies’ natural inclinations and express it honestly. 

See the performance here.


This is a part of the coverage on Summer Dance Camp 2019! Read more on other genres covered in SDC 2019:
|| Introduction || Contemporary || Urban || Hip Hop || Vogue ||
|| Traditional Contemporary || Broadway || Collabonation || Showcase ||