The UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, on December 2, 2015, inscribed 20 new elements, including three Balinese dances on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List.
The three genres of traditional Balinese dance are sacred, semi-sacred, and that meant for enjoyment by communities at large, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Intangible Cultural Heritage published on its website recently.
Coordinating Minister for Cultural and Human Development Puan Maharani lauded the UNESCOs decision to inscribe the dance forms on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the Committee for Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The inclusion of the Balinese dance forms in the UNESCO World Heritage could help promote Indonesias tourism internationally, the minister emphasized.
The coordinating minister hoped that UNESCOs recognition would encourage the Indonesian people to preserve the countrys culture and traditions.
Balinese traditional dance forms depict moral and religious values that could serve as a media to implement the mental revolution program, according to Maharani.
Traditional Balinese dance forms are performed by men and women dancers dressed in traditional costumes comprising brightly colored clothes painted with gold floral and faunal motifs, with gold-leafed and ornate accessories.
The dance forms are inspired by nature and symbolize specific traditions, customs, and religious values.
They combine a variety of different movements, including a basic posture wherein the knees are bent outwards and the stomach held in, locomotive movements in different tempos and directions, transitional movements with dynamic changes, and facial expressions with eye movements depicting happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and love, all in tune to the music of the "gamelan".
In addition to being technically skilled dancers, the performers must have the charisma, humility, discipline, and a special spiritual energy that enlivens the performance, the UNESCO reported in a statement posted on its official website.
In Balinese communities, the knowledge on these dance forms is mainly imparted informally to children since an early age within groups.
Training starts with basic dance movements and positions and then advances to more intricate dance moves.
The sessions continue until the students have memorized the sequence of movements.
Traditional Balinese dance forms provide the participants with a solid cultural identity grounded in the understanding that they are safeguarding the cultural heritage of their ancestors, according to the UNESCO.
Head of the Bali Cultural Office Dewa Putu Beratha noted in Denpasar, Bali, recently that the funding received following the UNESCOs recognition, would be used to preserve the dances.
He claimed that the three genres of Bali dance comprise nine dances: Barong Ket, Joged Bumbung, Legong Keraton, Wayang Wong, Gambuh, Topeng Sidhakarya, Baris Upacara, Sanghyang Dedari, and Rejang.
"We are very happy and grateful on receiving this designation. Thus, Bali not only receives protection relating to the preservation of traditional dances but it will also offer economic benefits in future," Dewa explained.
According to Dewa, after the UNESCO recognized the Balinese dance forms, it is now the responsibility of the central government, the Bali provincial government, and district/city governments to prepare the required infrastructure for the preservation and development of traditional Balinese dances.
Eight Indonesian cultural elements have so far been inscribed by the UNESCO since 2008.
The elements included are three genres of traditional Balinese dance inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2015 and the Noken multifunctional knotted or woven bag, a handicraft of the people of Papua inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2012.
The other elements are the Saman Dance of Aceh Darussalam Province inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2011, Angklung traditional musical instrument of West Java inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010, and Batik inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.
Education and training in Indonesian Batik intangible cultural heritage is being imparted to elementary, junior, senior, vocational school, and polytechnic students in collaboration with the Batik Museum in Pekalongan, which is inscribed on the List of the Best Safeguarding Practices in 2009.
The Wayang puppet theatre and Kris traditional daggers were inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008.
The 10th session of the Committee, which was organized in Namibia, brought together the representatives of 24 States Parties to UNESCOs Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, now numbering 336 elements from various countries, demonstrates the diversity of this heritage and raises awareness on its importance. (Antara)