I Gusti Ngurah Made Agung field, known as Puputan square in Bali, looked different this evening. More than 1,000 people gathered here to enliven the Cultural Carnival as part of the series of activities to support the World Culture Forum (WCF) 2016. A variety of art performances from Indonesia and other countries was featured at the carnival, showcasing the cultural expression and diversity the world possesses. The carnival, which was inaugurated by Director General of Culture Hilmar Farid of the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, marked with the firing of Cakra Bhuwana Mandala Budaya arrows to symbolize the collective effort of maintaining the peace in the cultural world.
The carnival began with a troupe of Balinese girls performing the Sekar Jempiring, a Balinese traditional dance, and the mascot dance of Denpasar city. This dance tells the story of the fragrance of the Jempiring flower that grows in Denpasar, Bali. The white and clean color of the flower symbolizes Denpasar city administration which is clean and in good performance.
After that, the carnival resumed with the reading of Traditional Dance Festival Declaration by the participants of International Folk Dance Festival (IFDF), one of the events in the WCF 2016. Suzie Moya Benitez of the Philippines read the declaration among more than one hundred IFDF participants who wore their countries’ traditional costumes. This declaration is an agreement between IFDF participants from 13 countries, including Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia, Italy, Indonesia, and Thailand. One of the points agreed upon in the declaration is that sustained and preserved culture be passed on to next generations.
In his speech, Hilmar said that this carnival was held as part of activities of the WCF 2016 and served as a place to express the cultural diversity of each country. He said that the world would need more such forums to express the culture and cultural ideas. “The key message is that diversity is part of human life, and culture is our strength to be united and making friendship in the world,” he said.
The carnival was filled with art performances from all the participating countries. Indonesia performed Reog Ponorogo, a traditional art from East Java. Thailand delegation featured Kala Dance from Northeast of Thailand, which tells about the joyfulness of young people after completing harvest. They will sit together to rub coconut shells, and dance in pairs of men and women.
The delegation of Kazakhstan featured the traditional dance Kara Zhorga. The choreography showed the dancers’ flexibility and their ability to harmonize footsteps, hands, with music. Uzbekistan also performed traditional dances taken from their four regions namely Bukhara, Horesm, Andijan and Fergana, with their own characteristics.
Slightly different from other countries, delegates from Taiwan showed martial arts dance inspired by Bruce Lee, the kung fu master from Taiwan. The dance combined martial art and kung fu power from the kung fu master.
The Italian delegation offered history as part of culture. Manfrina dance was performed by Italy Urbanitas group. It tells about Italian Renaissance court tradition in the 1700s. Since then, this popular dance has become Italy’s cultural heritage.
William and Maia, dancers from Italy, expressed their admiration of Indonesian culture. William said Indonesia was a beautiful country and he liked Indonesian music. Maia, on the other hand, admitted that she was interested in religions and traditional beliefs in Indonesia, and the ritual. They both said that they are pleased and proud to participate in the WCF 2016. “With the society and culture that we all have, together we can undertake cultural exchange and live peacefully side by side in this world,” William said.