Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Alluring, magnificent and daring show. If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I would think that this show just needed a hard slogan for marketing. The fact is, they’re not lying. I mean, I wouldn’t know how to describe a show that has whips, almost naked man on strings, a swinging ballet couple, fire, and super tall Queen of South Sea. And no, it’s not a freak show.
I never heard of Devdan show until a hotel staff in Nusa Dua, Bali, told us about it. It was a long contemplation before deciding to go see the show considering their ticket prices. Finally my liking for artistic performances won. Seeing what they had to offer in the website, I had to watch it. I dragged Mumun along and what a relief that she, too, was – more than – satisfied with the show.
Okay, let’s start from the beginning. The word “Devdan” is derived from “Deva” (God/goddess) and “Dana” (gift, blessing) and combined they mean “God’s gift”. It’s a theatrical /musical /whatchamacallit performance that shows the diversity of Indonesian cultures, and these cultures being the gifts from God to us Indonesians.
The show is 90 minute long, performed 4 times a week. That’s 90 minutes nonstop of dancing, music, acrobat, well-designed clothes, magic and the audience’s dropping jaws. There’s a person swimming – literally – in a Borneo ‘river’ on stage, a Javanese man being stabbed through with a sword (how did they do that??), and trapeze-like act has never looked so sexy and elegant. Not ALL of Indonesian traditional cultures are acted out because there’s countless of them, buat the ones included in this show are definitely the prominent ones.
Honestly, I’ve never seen Indonesian dancers (all 63 of them, each with multiple acts!) perform that well. The credit I’m sure goes as well to directors, coreographers, musicians, lighting designers, and of course whoever it was that came up with idea of taking over the poorly maintained Bali Nusa Dua theatre with this amazing show. And I repeat: amazing show.
On a personal note, too often I take these cultures for granted. Seeing the traditional dances, clothes, martial arts, decorative arts and many more on stage help me reminded of how good we have it. A little bit embarassed but mostly proud and intrigued to learn more about the root culture of Indonesia. I’ve seen a few of performances like this, namely the Siam Niramit in Bangkok and Phoenix and Dragon in Shenzhen, but I don’t recall ever having teary eyes like I was watching Devdan *sob*. The part that touched me the most was the West Sumatra part, moreover the gracefully coreographed pencak silat (a bit subjective here since my family comes from West Sumatra, but then again art is subjective), and the Borneo swinging ballet part cos they move so ellegantly and the guy is a hunk *cough*.
On a traveling note, I strongly recommend you guys to step out of Kuta bar scene when in Bali and go straight to Bali Nusa Dua Theatre for Devdan show. We were a bit intimidated by Nusa Dua image as an elite area, but as a saying I read on a tee shirt: “Live with art. It’s good for your health.” Toadily agree. Wibbit!
ps: booking can be done here or we can also help you out, just contact us.