Big Night for Indonesian Culture in Illinois, USA

Big Night for Indonesian Culture in Illinois, USA
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Indonesian Cultural Night 2016 was a huge hit, as approximately 500 people came enjoyed the event. Their enthusiasm and excitement could really be seen during the show through repeating rounds of cheer and applause.

First held in 1989 by the Indonesian Student Community, Indonesian Cultural Night has grown into an annual event through the supports from the Indonesian Embassy in Washington D.C. and the Indonesian Consulate General in Chicago. This year round, Indonesian Cultural Night was held on April 1st, 2016 at the Lincoln Hall Theater at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

This event has successfully promoted the multifaceted Indonesian culture in the Urbana-Champaign community through performances of traditional music, dances, clothing, and food to the general community in the Urbana-Champaign area. The event was made free-of-charge since the ultimate aim of was not to raise money, but instead to introduce Indonesia’s rich and diverse culture. Approximately five hundred people came to watch the performance.

Caption (Sumber Gambar)
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The night was opened by a singing of Indonesia’s national anthem ‘Indonesia Raya’. The audience showed a great respect and appreciation by standing with all the Indonesians throughout national anthem.

The night continued with a series of dances. Lenggang Nyai dance, Merak dance, and Blambangan Cakil by Indonesian community in Urbana-Champaign and Indonesia Consulate General in Chicago rocked the event The audience was left in awe by as the dancers performed beautifully in each of the dance’s unique stories and costumes.

Angklung performance dominated the stage through the two songs they performed, namely ‘Indonesia Pusaka’ and ‘A whole New World’. Led by Joshua Pasila, also a student from University of Illinois, the melodious Angklung sound hypnotized the whole theater.

A Whole New World was even more beautiful with the addition of Hanna Wong and Derryl Achmad, who are the pianist and the soloist of the performance, closed with the thunderous applause.

Gamelan performance was next on stage. Kayonan dancers were also dancing in the center of the stage to accompany the gamelan performance.

Gamelan (sumber gambar: Paulina Ongkowijoyo)
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Kecak dance was next. Led by Putu Hiranmayena, Kecak dance was able to bring the audience to the story of Hanoman, performed by Putu himself, and Shinta, performed by Yoni Asnawa. Kecak dance was able to mesmerize the audience through the intricate choral pattern and also the extraordinary story plot and dance movements.

The night was closed by inviting the audience to dance along to the Poco-Poco dance performed by all the Indonesians participating in the event.

Kecak Dance Closing Ceremony (sumber gambar: Paulina Ongkowijoyo)
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Excitement and laughters were heard from the audiences. They were all happily moving their body as to the rhythm. Right after the appreciation of performers, the audience was served Traditional Indonesian cuisine such as Nasi Gulai Ayam, Rawon, and Kentang Telor Balado.

In the end, it was a successful event, greatly enjoyed by both the audience as well as those participating. It was a memorable night, indeed.

Sumber : Paulina Ongkowijoyo

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