The performers of the jaipongan, a Sundanese traditional dance, now have to change their costume and type of performance on stage. Besides covering up their bodies, dancers are also asked to make their moves more modest. "Exposed parts of the body should be covered," said Herdiwan Iing Suranta, West Java Culture and Tourism chief, contacted by Tempo in Bandung yesterday.
According to Herdiwan, the request came from West Java governor, Ahmad Heryawan, as conveyed to West Java Culture Office official, Wawan Ridwan. "During the hand over, Wawan conveyed the governor's message," Herdiwan said.
Herdiwan confirmed the information yesterday, following the issue concerning the ban on jaipongan dance in West Java. The issue upset many dance artists in Bandung.
Herdiwan said the governor did not directly give him the instruction, however, the previous official conveyed the governor's mandate specifically to him.
Other than covering the "bare shoulders' of the costume, the dancers should also reduce the hip movements in the dance. "It's like reducing just 10 percent of the movement. It won't affect the beauty of the dance," Herdiwan said.
The controversial pornography law has been blasted for targeting cultural heritage, after West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan used it as a legal basis to forbid Jaipong dancers from wearing "sexy" costumes and executing "provocative" dance moves.
Herdiwan said he agreed with the mandate, pointing out that the government was not banning jaipongan, but only reminded that some groups in the community feel uncomfortable with the bare parts of the dancers' body and the demonstrative hip movements. "It is not to discourage the artists' creativity," he said.
The West Java administration's ban has prompted severe criticism from artists and legislators who blast it as a move to curb the traditional arts and culture of local people.
Bandung-born singer and dancer Dewi Gita said she did not see the need for the administration to delve into the matter when there were so many other problems affecting the province, including floods, poverty and expensive education.
"You see, Jaipong has nearly vanished. It is our unique heritage and we should do our best to keep it alive. But instead of supporting the internationally recognized dance, the authorities encourage its extinction," she said.
With thanks to Shiva & IBLOGA