Images of the Yale International Center at Henry Luce Hall
As the "Indonesia and the Islands of Fire" events continued at the International Center on Monday February 9, Bapak Waleed welcomed the participants with a brief lecture and presentation from his travels in Indonesia. He began with an introduction to the cultures and traditions of West Sumatra, with some brief explanations of the symbolism inherent in the art, architecture, and dress of the Minangkabau people.
Bapak then continued with some demonstrations of traditional movements involved in the West Sumatran Arts and Dance, and he gave some examples of how the dance movements can in some cases dovetail with the arts aspect of the movements. As Bapak began to teach hand movements to the group, he touched on the meditative aspect of the movements as well, and how they are meant to bring balance and coordination, both to one's physical self and also to the inner aspect of life.
The methods of the elders in the Minang community are designed to reconnect individuals not only with themselves, but also with the ability to live 'in the present moment,' without excessive analysis or too much thinking. As Bapak states it, the goal is always "to be in the present moment, because the next one is not promised." The participants also had the opportunity to try some of the steps themselves, and gain an appreciation for the ease of the dancers' movements seen in the Pekan Budaya (Cultural Festival) videos from Padang.
The participants enjoyed Bapak's presentation very much, and were inquisitive about many different aspects of the Minang culture and how they combine in such a synergistic fashion. Several people expressed desire and intention to visit West Sumatra, and spoke with Bapak in more detail about everyday life in the region and what to expect up on visiting. Even after the presentation the guests stayed to thank Bapak and to continue enjoying the traditional Indonesian music, artwork, and cultural display set up around the International Center.
ISFA@Yale is very grateful for the support of the Yale Southeast Asia Studies Council and the Chair, Council on Southeast Asia Studies, J. Joseph Errington, Professor of Anthropolgy, as well as to Indriyo Sukmono (SEAS Lector) and Ketut Arthana (Dharma Swara, Indonesian Consulate) for their contributions of cultural items from Java, Bali, and elsewhere around Indonesia.
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