Indonesian night showcases culture | The Triangle

Indonesian night showcases culture

Approximately 150 people attended the Indonesian Student Association’s “One Night in Indonesia” program Jan. 27 in Creese Student Center’s Behrakis Grand Hall.

Indonesia_Ajon Brodie_WEBThe program for the night included traditional Balinese and Sulawesian dancing, acoustic performances of traditional Indonesian songs and ethnic food served buffet style.

Indra Senihardja, president of the Indonesian Student Association, was the chief organizer of the event.

“The idea of this event is to enrich diversity in Drexel and promote Indonesia,” he explained.

Senihardja first came up with the idea for the event in December 2013. The idea was that it would be a night of Indonesian culture, including free food, dancing, singing and cultural trivia to promote the message Senihardja hoped to send: unity in diversity.

Sophomore Thao Nguyen, a biomedical engineering student, showed up at the event out of curiosity about Indonesia.

“I wanted to know more about the culture and my friend lived in Asia and invited me to come,” Nguyen said.

Biomedical engineering graduate student Reva Street also attended the event out of interest in the country.

“I wanted to learn more about Indonesia,” she said.

The Good Idea Fund, whose chairman, James Hamalian, attended the program, sponsored this Indonesian experience.

“We want to engage students on a level that wouldn’t be attained through normal programming,” Hamalian explained to the crowd.

The hall was decorated with 18 tables. The tablecloths alternated between red and white, the two colors seen on the official Republic of Indonesia’s flag.

As guests ate, they watched several dance performances; one of the most notable was the Balinese style. The dance traditionally hails from the Bali Island of Indonesia. It is part of the Balinese people’s religion and artistic expression.

The female dancers dressed in long cloths known as kains, which extended to their ankles and were accessorized with long sashes, named sabuks, draped over their shoulders. The costumes also included eccentric sparkling headpieces, bangles and a clothing article called a badong, which hung around their necks like bibs. This clothing added to the dynamic movements as dancers used their arms, fingers and heads to perform an expressive number.

Another traditional number that entertained the audience was the Saman dance, also known as the Dance of  a Thousand Hands. This dance was performed by Drexel’s Indonesian Student Association. They wore tightly wrapped skirts around their waists and bandana-like head garments.

The Dance of a Thousand Hands consisted of about ten students who marched onstage and sat in a line. They then began singing a traditional Indonesian song and making a series of beats by clapping their hands against the floor, their laps, chests and even each other.

“[I thought] the clapping dance was really cool,” Street stated after the performance.

Street added that she enjoyed the food. Some of the traditional Indonesian foods served included skewered beef, fried plantains and rice, among other Indonesian dishes.

The night also featured videos with facts about Indonesia, interactive trivia games with gift cards to Indonesian restaurants as prizes, and a small speech by Ghafur Akbar Dharmaputra of the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in New York.

Senihardja ended the event saying that he and the other members of the Indonesian Student Association hoped to hold another “Night in Indonesia” next year.