Indonesia Traditional Dance as Cultural Diplomacy

ITS–Indonesia  has a rich history of using art as a form of cultural diplomacy, and dance is no exception. Cultural diplomacy is a form of soft power that aims to share ideas, art, and values with other nations. It  offers an alternative solution to address the complexity of international relations by employing culture as the foundation of soft power. Unlike the conventional diplomacy which depends on formal and official state actors, the cultural diplomacy allows room for participation from non-state actors

Indonesia  has been using dance as cultural diplomacy since the era of Soekarno’s Presidency and this practice has continued into present day. Since 1950s Soekarno had initiated a number of cultural activities by  sending artists to perform in dance, music and puppetery shows abroad. They performed various dance and local traditional music, as well as puppetery shows as emmisaries in Indonesia art missions. In addition, dance artist were sent to teach or learn in several friendly countries. For Soekarno, introducing Indonesia arts also meant introducing Indonesia.

Cultural diplomacy of Soekarno has continues over decades. Today goverment urges all citizens to actively promote Indonesia, especially through cultural activities. Several civic comunities (groups) has actively participated in international event to promote Indonesia culture. One of them is STAMP (Seni Tari Mahasiswa/i Psikologi—Dance Art of Psichology Students).

STAMP was founded at January  2008 in order to accomodate the development of interest and hobby in dance for students of Psichology Faculty in Atma Jaya University, Jakarta. In the course of time, STAMP has grown from a merely group of hobby into a cultural emmisary as it promoted various Indonesia traditional dances in several international events. STAMP, for instance, participated in a culturual mission of UNESCO—International Organization Volkenvurst (IOV) 2015, hosted in Thailand. In the front of more than 1000 local and international audiences, STAMP performed  Piring Sofiyani dance from Minangkabau,  Kembang Girang dance from Bali and Saman dance from  Aceh. This group also had been Indonesia envoy in The 18th West Lake International Expo (China). As one of the events series exhibited cultural performances from worldwide, STAMP presented 5 Indonesia traditional dances, namely Saman dance from Aceh, Piring Cupak dance from West Sumatra,  Lenso dance from  Maluku,  Belibis dance from Bali, as well as Bajidor Kahot dance from West Java.

Valeri Diandra B.


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