N.M (Student Staff Leader)
ICC has held many country festivals, including several Indonesian festivals. The past Indonesian festivals were held in similar format; series of dances, music performances, photo booths, games, and stamp rallies which never failed to attract many participants. This time, I changed the usual format of the event because I wanted to do something different. Something that is less gaudy.
After giving it some thought, because watching traditional dance performances is not a rare opportunity, unlike a free traditional dance workshop, I decided that I want people to not only watch the dance performance, but to try dancing traditional dance as well. However, deciding what kind of traditional dance from Indonesia is another challenge as Indonesia has thousands of traditional dances and I could not make up my mind. In the end, I decided to approach the dance teacher first and consult with her about the event.
The dance teacher is called Tini sensei, a veteran in teaching traditional dances and a pro-dancer who can perform not only one kind of Indonesian traditional dance, but many of it. She is a humble and gentle person. She speaks Indonesian, English, and Japanese fluently. To join her routine classes, participants have to pay. However, especially for students, the fee is very cheap and she is very lenient towards payment because she does not do it to gain profit. Instead, the fee is to motivate the students to come and get what they have paid for, even though it is a small amount of money. Through her dance classes, she hopes to spread Indonesian culture and attract more people to learn. She is very sincere. I truly admire and respect her as she is very passionate about dancing and she has sincere intention in spreading Indonesian culture without taking much profit.
By inviting a well-known Indonesian traditional dancer to Waseda that has been teaching a vast variety of traditional dances for years, I aimed to create an opportunity for Waseda students to try dancing at least one Indonesian traditional dance, which is Saman, as suggested by Tini sensei herself, a dance that is recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity that also needs urgent protection.
I agreed to what Tini sensei suggested because when I was in my last year of primary school, I decided to join a traditional a Saman dance club, something that I have never done and never thought of doing before. Little did I know that I would fall in love with traditional dance, I love it so much that I decided to continue dancing in secondary school. Looking back now, I realized how joining the club and dancing have changed me and my life. Since I was a dancer of Saman dance, a type of dance that requires a good teamwork and harmony, I was able to learn the true essence of leadership and the importance of a good teamwork. If the relationship between members is not good, it can affect the performance of the team. There will be no harmony in every moves and the performance will not reach people’s heart.
Through Saman, I realized how dancing is more than just moving our body according to the choreography and music. Of course every member has to remember the choreography and improve themselves which requires a lot of effort and dedication. However, it needs to be done with passion and sincerity for it to reach people’s heart and for it to be felt by others. It is a lot more than what is seen on the surface. For that reason, I wanted other people to learn something from this unique dance too. Moreover, I also wanted to introduce a piece of the lesser known Indonesian culture to at least students at Waseda University. Furthermore, this event could also help UNESCO to conserve Saman dance by introducing it to other people.
Fast forward to the day of the event and I was pretty nervous. Tini sensei started the event with presentation about Indonesian traditional dances in very fluent Japanese, as expected from someone who has been living in Japan for almost 40 years. She actually had so many things to present but unfortunately, we had to cut the presentation because we only had limited time. Despite that, her presentation was very informative and enjoyable. The next session was a dance performance from Tini sensei herself and her three lovely students who volunteered to join the event. It was an amazing and very intimate performance as the participants got to see the dancers from a close distant.
After the performances were over, we showed a short video of Saman dance to give a visualization of what kind of dance we were going to do on that day. After that, we went straight to the dance workshop. Everyone seemed very enthusiastic and interested in learning. Even though some people felt tired from having to seat while doing the dance, all of them still actively participated during the event.
Tini sensei and her students were also very kind and friendly to the participants. They tried to patiently teach the participants while making sure that the participants learned as many moves as possible in a short period of time. After the workshop session, we had one guest who came to promote a fundraising event to help victims of earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia last year. I felt glad that through this event, someone could promote another event to help others.
The last session of the event was cafe time. During this session, the participants had the opportunity to talk freely with Tini sensei and her students while drinking and eating snacks that ICC provided. Overall, with the help from my awesome teammates, the event pretty smoothly without any major problem. The participants and the guests seemed to really enjoy the event, talking with each other, filling the room with smiles and laughter.
For those of you who are interested in joining Tini sensei’s dance class, please click the link below: