Monash Cultural Night 2023
Attarieq Reshad Humardhani| 27 October 2023
“The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its society.”
As Monash Cultural Night (MCN) comes to a close, Perhimpunan Pelajar Indonesia (PPI) celebrates in high spirits as they obtain awards in multiple categories. What started as a vision to portray the plethora of Indonesian cultures culminated in a win for best performance, prince and princess of the night, and best supporter. However, these awards were not won due to one singular individual.
They took contributions from the organisers, performers, and even audience members to achieve. Keeping in mind Indonesia’s diverse range of cultures, the performers tried to keep the patriotic spirit alive by showcasing every one of them faithfully. Hence, the performances ranged from Papua, Riau, Minangkabau, Balinese, and Acehnese traditional dances.
However, out of all of the dances showcased during the performance, three in particular stood out as the highlight of the event. These dances include the Saman, Kecak, and Hanoman dance. The Saman dance in particular was a highly anticipated and cheered dance, considering that it involved very precise and calculated choreography from all of the performers. Furthermore, the Kecak dance was another dance that became a highlight of Indonesia’s performance, which was emphasised by the dance’s mesmerising, almost ritualistic undertones. Transitioning into the last major ethnic dance, the Hanoman dance became the only solo dance throughout the performance. The crowd cheered on as the performer moved gracefully throughout the stage, further emphasizing how unforgettable the dance was. Also, in a very impromptu manner, all of the Indonesian audience members were eager to show a united front through clapping and chanting “Indonesia!” towards the closing act of the performance, which involved a short flag bearer ceremony.
Lastly, the performers’ determination to show Indonesian culture to all attendees of MCN were cemented during the fashion show. With two duos, each consisting of one male, and one female, Indonesia showcased its extravagant cultural attire. Represented by traditional Javanese clothing adorned with gold jewellery and ornate accessories, the models walked towards the stage gracefully. Finally, when the models were asked to present themselves on stage, they showcased their chemistry to the entire audience. Despite these memorable acts from Indonesia, many people only know a small proportion of the effort that it took to bring them to life.
The process of planning, practice, and execution for the choreography were rigorous, with practice sessions happening very frequently. As with any newly choreographed performance, the training sessions were quite disorganised and chaotic in the beginning. Most of the performers started off quite uncoordinated and were unsure of their cues and dance moves. There were long days and nights involving practice, taking up most of the performers’ spare time. However, despite all the rigour and long nights, the amount of bonding that resulted from this alone was rewarding, as all of the performers were eager to showcase the cultures of Indonesia. Hence, every talent who was involved understood that they became part of a performance representing all Indonesians at Monash.
Reflecting on MCN, the successes of PPI were not just in the accolades they garnered but in the collective spirit they embodied. From the myriad of dances representing the vast tapestry of Indonesian culture to the stunning display of traditional attire, every performer played a pivotal role in conveying the nation’s rich heritage to the audience. Yet, behind the grand spectacle was a tale of perseverance, camaraderie, and undying commitment to authenticity. For every applause and cheer, there were hours of practice, moments of doubt, and countless rehearsals. But in the end, it was not just about showcasing dance or fashion; it was a heartfelt testament to the diverse and vibrant culture of Indonesia, delivered with pride and unity. As the curtains fell on MCN, it was evident that PPI had not just put on a performance but had woven a narrative of unity, dedication, and cultural pride that would resonate for times to come.