World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival

FESTIVAL DANCERS

Harsanari Indonesian Dance Company

NATIONAL/ETHNIC IDENTITY: Indonesian / Sundanese
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Michael Ogi
First Appearance in SF EDF: 1998
Website: www.harsanari.com

San Francisco-based Harsanari, founded in 1997, promotes an appreciation of traditional Sundanese dance and culture in America through participation and performance. Under the leadership of Michael Ogi, Harsanari focuses on classical and folk dance forms of West Java, and includes dances from Sumatra in repertoire. Harsanari performs regularly at cultural events in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Since 2000, Michael Ogi has studied regularly in Bandung, West Java with dancer and choreographer Achmad Farmis S.Sn., and Diah Agustini S.Sn., choreographer, teacher, and principal soloist with Jugala, the jaipongan company led by Gugum Gumbira in Bandung. Both Achmad Farmis S.Sn. and Diah Agustini S.Sn. regularly visit San Francisco to teach the company.

2016 PERFORMANCE

DANCE ORIGIN: West Java, Indonesia
GENRE: Sundanese Jaipongan
TITLE: Enggalkeun
CHOREOGRAPHERS: Diah Agustini S.Sn., Achmad Farmis S.Sn.
DANCERS: Rachella Farmis, Michael Ogi

Photo by Mark Muntean

WORLD PREMIERE

The Sundanese title of this piece, Enggalkeun, means “to hurry something up.” The singer urges the man to quickly declare his love, because in West Java the man has to make the first move.

This duet is an example of the popular style known as jaipongan. In the late 1960s, when Indonesian President Sukarno called for a Sundanese indigenous art, Dr. Gugum Gumbira created this new choreography, merging traditional forms. He pulled elements from pencak silat martial arts and from the classical dance form tari keurseus. Another important source was ketuk tilu, a social dance involving a soloist improvising with members of the audience—a dance whose elements evolved from ancient rural folk forms and fertility rites. As Dr. Gumbira created jaipongan, he also drew ideas from Western modern dance and ballroom. These days, the dance form appears just about everywhere, from weddings to aerobic studios, and the spirited music inspires rapid-fire drumming competitions. Choreographed jaipongan pieces like today’s are also frequently performed.

In 1976, Dr. Gumbira and his wife, singer Euis Komariah, formed the Jugala company for recording and performing jaipongan. Dr. Gumbira still leads Jugala as the primary company devoted to jaipongan as he conceived it. Harsanari’s choreography was created in 2014 by two of Jugala’s primary dancer/choreographers: Achmad Farmis, S.Sn. (man’s part) and Diah Agustini, S.Sn. (woman’s part).

The female costume adapts traditional ketuk tilu costume with a wrapped top and sarung batik skirt, flowers, gold jewelry, and a belt—a style commonly worn for Indonesian stage performance. The male attire is from Indonesian martial arts, with sarong, stagen waistband, and batik head cloth.

The recorded music was composed 1978 by Dr. Gumbira. It is performed by Euis Komariah and Jugala’s jaipongan orchestra, a Sundanese gamelan of metalophones, gongs, drums, rebab spike fiddles, and suling bamboo flutes. Musicians engage in a call and response with the singer, who vocalizes in a form called seunggak. The name “jaipong” arose naturally during performance: musicians used syllables while performing drum patterns—“blak ting pong”—and audiences shouted “ja-i-pong!” in response.

2015 PERFORMANCE

DANCE ORIGIN: West Java, Indonesia
GENRE:
Sundanese, Pencak Silat and Jaipongan
TITLE:
Paleredan; Bajidor Kahot
DIRECTOR:
Michael Ogi
CHOREOGRAPHERS:
Paleredan- Mochamad Saleh; Bajidor Kahot- Diah Agustini, Achmad Farmis
DANCERS:
Alice Adeboi, Diah Agustini S.Sn.(guest dancer), Rachella Farmis, Allen Ogi, Michael Ogi, Karen Pugay, Carol Sakamoto

Indonesia’s 40 million Sundanese people—living mostly in West Java—have a distinctive language, alphabet, and cuisine. Their history is one of powerful Sundanese kingdoms, rural farming, and Dutch colonialism. Sundanese art is rarely performed in the US: Harsanari presents two historic forms on our stage.

The first piece, Paleredan, is named for the national martial arts style of pencak silat, a traditional form traced back in oral history to the Sunda kingdom (669 to 1759 C.E.). Performers with fans mark the four directions, then the spaces in between. As is traditional, music accompanies the martial arts: two drums, a double-reed woodwind tarompet, and a gong. The costume is traditional: sarong, stagen (waistband), batik head cloth, bare feet, and fans to distract and frighten opponents.

The second piece, Bajidor Kahot, showcases jaipongan, a popular dance form. In the 1960’s, then-Indonesian President Sukarno prohibited western music and issued a call to artists to develop indigenous forms. Dr. Gugum Gumbira Tirasondjaja developed the jaipongan form, merging elements from martial arts, Sundanese classical dance, and village festival dances—especially ketuk tilu, a sensual, flirtatious dance for female dancers who often selected male partners from the audience. Jaipongan music merges Sundanese-language songs with dynamic and complex drumming patterns: the name comes from the ja-i-pong sound of the drum. Gugum Gumbira conceived jaipongan as a performance art with trained dancers. The dance form and music became a popular craze, but jaipongan as originally developed by Gugum Gumbira is recognized as a national dance form.

The woman’s costume is traditional jaipongan stage dress: kebaya top, batik sarong, flowers, gold jewelry and belt, and dance sash. The man’s dress is based on martial arts attire.

The music is the traditional Bajidor Kahot song. SambaSunda, a Bandung group, presents a modern fusion—with elements of Balinese and Sundanese gamelan metallophones, gongs, drums, spike fiddles, suling bamboo flutes, and a singer—exemplifying the ongoing creative spirit of Sundanese art.

2005 PERFORMANCE

TITLE OF PIECES: Waledan, Kembang Boled CHOREOGRAPHY: Achmad Farmis
DANCERS:
Alice Adeboi, Wan-Chao Chang, Michael Ogi, Carol Sakamoto, Kai Tuft

West Java holds some fascinating traditions of music and dance both sacred and secular in nature. The Tari Rakyat, or folk dance of today, represents a wide spectrum of dances from ancient trance dances performed in ritual ceremonies to social dances performed in nightclubs. Influences on the dance include the Sundanese martial art known as Pencak Silat, and the dance and singing of professional female entertainers of the aristocracy known as Ronggeng. One type of folk dance is Ketuk Tilu in which Ronggeng dance with male members of the audience. It is a traditional social dance that originated in villages of West Java and has roots in Hindu traditions. Originally performed during fertility ceremonies, Ketuk Tilu is now performed at nearly every festive occasion in West Java.

Sundanese dance was transformed in the mid 1970s. As a response to the Indonesian government ban on Western popular culture, in its absence the youth invented purely indigenous music and dance expressions. One of these forms, highly influenced by rural dance and music, is Jaipongan.

Harsanari performs two pieces based in the Jaipongan style. Waledan, from the village Waled on the north coast of West Java, is a unique combination of Sundanese and Balinese styles, blending folk dance styles from Bandung. The other piece presented for the 2005 Festival, Kembang Boled, draws its inspiration from the folk dance style from Subang called Bajidoran. The movement draws from several elements, Sundanese martial arts, Indian Bhangra, and American Hip Hop. The word "bajidoran" is said to be an anacronym from a larger phrase meaning, "group of rebellious people."

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