Dancing (and chanting) the night away

I've been back a month now! And I haven't been dancing nearly enough. Here are some moments that take me back. Topeng After a few weeks of study, we started wearing  a mask and the basic parts of the costume in class.  Both really change the way you move. The costume frames the mask—which is … Continue reading Dancing (and chanting) the night away

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Things to Remember

The Surprises of Surprise Re-entry is interesting. And by interesting, I mean full of surprises. Surprise is also, itself, interesting. And therefore surprise is...surprising. I'm not just playing circular word games.  Surprise, like accidents, cannot ever be fully predicted.  For example, when thinking about my reactions to coming back to the US after studying abroad, … Continue reading Things to Remember

A Weekend Outing

Friday Night Calonarang Late Friday night at 10:30 pm, we drove to a pura dalem (temple of the dead) in a nearby village to witness a Calonarang ritual. After mistakenly landing at what seemed to be a carnival, then finding a Calonarang, but at the wrong temple, we  arrived and settled in to watch. It … Continue reading A Weekend Outing

A Topeng dance

We wait for maybe four and half hours, just outside a new house that will have a blessing ceremony, before any sign of the activities. Our dance teacher, Gustu, is to perform a topeng at the ceremony.  Initially he thought it would be in the morning, then received word that it would be closer to … Continue reading A Topeng dance

Many, Yet One

Indonesia is a nation made up of many islands –17,508 islands. However, only about 6,000 are inhabited. The country is second only to Brazil in its biodiversity. In short, there's a lot of potential differences rolled into one country.  This is reflected in the national motto, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika -- which translates into "Unity Through … Continue reading Many, Yet One