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Dancers perform at Indonesian Night, hosted by the Indonesian Student Association in the Baker Ballroom.

Indonesian consul general gets down on the dance floor at Indonesian Night

Not many can say they were in the same room as the Consulate General of Indonesia while simultaneously watching a dancer lure him and other men onto the stage to dance.

The 250 people who attended Indonesian Night on Friday, however, now have an interesting anecdote to tell at parties.

The Indonesian Student Association of Ohio University hosted the sold out eighth annual Indonesian Night on Friday in Baker Ballroom where attendees experienced traditional Indonesian cuisine, music and dancing.

“Right now, in my country, America is known as the melting pot of cultures,” Radityo Aryo Hutomo, a second-year graduate student studying Asian studies, said. “Ohio University has been very good at keeping diversity for international students, people from different countries. So it’s good that we could introduce our cultures and create discussion, have fun together.”

The two hostesses for the evening introduced honored guests, switching between English and Indonesian. The two honored guests were Alec Holcombe, an assistant professor in the history department, and Andriana Supandy, Consulate General of Indonesia. The Consulate General assists and protects Indonesians in the midwest region, and his offices are based in Chicago.

The event started with vegan appetizers — lumpia (spring roll) and klepon (rice cake). After everyone took their seats, a masked figure began to dance in the center of the room.

Nissa Rahma Aprilia, a second-year graduate student studying Asian studies, wore a mask with a long, red nose and a crown. She performed the “Tari Topeng Bapang,” which is the Bapang Mask Dance. Bapang is a beast who was a regent under the reign of King Klana Sewandana.

A second dance followed the first as another woman performed the “Tari Puspanjali,” a Balinese dance that is often performed to greet guests and start formal events.

The Indonesian Student Association performed the “Potong Tumpeng,” which is the serving of a rice dish to the honored guests. Tumpeng is a symbol of gratitude, and Indonesians usually serve this to celebrate important events. Holcombe and Supandy were served first.

The Indonesian Student Association then showed a video about Papua, one of the largest islands in Indonesia and the theme of this year’s Indonesian Night.

The third dance of the night was by far the most elaborate. “Tari Saman,” the dance of a thousand hands, is one of the most popular dances in Indonesia. Students from five different countries had been practicing the dance for one month, Hutomo said. Two people sang as 12 others danced on the stage. They stood in a line and used their hands to create an upbeat rhythm.  

After the dance of a thousand hands, the final dance began. The “Seka Jepun” dance is famous in Bali and was inspired by Japanese flowers. The dancer walked around the room and put a scarf around guests’ necks, inviting them to join her in the middle of the room for a dance. One of those guests was Consul General Supandy, who happily danced with her.

“I always encourage the Indonesian community and Indonesian students anywhere under my jurisdiction of the 13 states in the midwest to start to promote Indonesia,” Supandy said. “I’m optimistic that we can get closer and (have a) stronger relationship between Ohio University and Indonesia.”

The event served dishes such as beef rendang, sate ayam (a chicken kabob), tofu and capcay sayur (vegetable stir fry). They also served es teler, a mixed fruit cocktail with sweetened milk.

“It’s a really nice opportunity for the students to show their culture with people who might not get an opportunity to travel to Indonesia in their life,” Annie Dievendorf, international student adviser, said. “It’s really a way ... for the students to get a little taste of their home and to help with the homesickness they might experience.”


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