Renowned Indonesian Dancer to Perform in Philadelphia

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PHILADELPHIA, February 8, 2018 — Intercultural Journeys (IJ) welcomes internationally renowned cross-gender dancer Didik Nini Thowok to the Philadelphia stage for Dual Face | Dwimuka on Sunday, March 11 at 7:00 pm. With his signature blend of comedy and dance-based storytelling, Didik weaves together a spellbinding performance that offers a compelling perspective on the duality and fluidity of gender.

The multi-talented Didik Nini Thowok is a dancer, teacher, singer, comedian, costume-maker, and makeup artist. His unique style stems from a multitude of historic cross-gender dances found in Southeast Asian, drawing from the regional dance traditions Sunda, Cirebon, Bali, Central Java, and beyond. Part master dancer, part movement historian, Didik’s in-depth study of these traditional forms and their accompanying costumes, masks, and make-up make him the world’s leading interpreter of cross-gender performance. Didik has performed for dignitaries throughout the world, and has collaborated with respected international artists from across the globe, including Astad Deboo and Pooja Bhatnagar (India), Akira Matsui and Richard Emmert (Japan), and Pieter Chin and William Lauw (Canada). While Didik has performed on the East and West Coasts of the United States, this is his first visit to Philadelphia.

“I followed my heart, and started my work as a response to my natural passion for dance. The more I dance, the more I realize that it is crucial work to keep these traditional dances alive and to pass it on to the younger generation,” says Didik Nini Thowok. “They give a nuanced understanding of Indonesian culture, a well rounded picture of gender representation, and show the depth and beauty of our ancestral roots - which is a very valuable aspect in our society.”

Joining the production is producer and Didik Nini Thowok’s international artist representative, Ratri Anindyajati, who served as curator, dramaturg, and cultural liaison. She worked closely with Didik and IJ curator Alex Shaw to program and sequence the dances, develop narrative structures, and contextualize the performance within the landscape of Philadelphia. The result is a cohesively-flowing show that weaves Didik’s vignettes with the live-improvised musical stylings of multi-instrumentalist and composer Sean Hayward.

In the week preceding Didik’s performance on Sunday, March 11, Didik will engage in events with community partners in the Philadelphia area. On March 6, Didik will give a free seminar at Swarthmore College at the invitation of the departments of music and dance, gender studies, and Asian studies. On March 7, Didik will offer a community dance class with the Philadelphia-area Indonesian dance ensemble Modero and Company.

“Didik’s work is a vibrant addition to discussions of gender expression, as well as a unique look at a fascinating aspect of Indonesia’s performing arts heritage,” says Carly Rapaport-Stein, Executive Director of Intercultural Journeys. “Drawing from the rich history of the art form and his extraordinary talent as a movement artist, Didik’s performance will offer a profound commentary on gender and culture.”

This is the third performance of Intercultural Journeys’ 2017-2018 season, Borders & Boundaries. The season continues in April, as IJ presents Syrian hip-hop artist and poet Omar Offendum in SyrianamericanA, and concludes in May with Pasión y Arte’s My Voice, Our Voice | Mi Voz, Nuestra Voz.

Dual Face | Dwimuka will be held on Sunday, March 11 at 7:00PM in the Ibrahim Theatre at the International House Philadelphia (see map). For more information and tickets:

About the Collaborators

Ratri Anindyajati

Jakarta-born Ratri Anindyajati is an independent producer and official Producer/International Representative of Didik Nini Thowok. A graduate of the MFA Creative Producing and Management Program at California Institute of the Arts, Ratri serves as curator, dramaturg, and cultural liaison for Didik’s US performances. Her passion lies in storytelling and producing works that explore humanity and identity through the lens of diversity and multiplicity of cultures. Before relocating to Los Angeles, Ratri was a producer at the Indonesian Dance Festival, an international contemporary dance festival in Jakarta, as well as arts management and production collaborator at European festivals including Impulstanz (Vienna, Austria) and Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels, Belgium).

Sean Hayward

Sean Hayward is a composer and performer based in Los Angeles and Surakarta, Indonesia. His music is a reflection of his wide ranging interests, which include Javanese gamelan, process music, Balkan folk music, the contemporary classical guitar, extreme metal, and ancient tuning systems. Sean is currently a doctoral candidate in the Performer-Composer program at the California Institute of the Arts where he also serves as a lecturer. Aside from performing as a soloist, Hayward performs regularly as one half of the guitar violin duo, Duo Meranti, an ongoing collaboration with composer-violinist, Chrysanthe Tan. Sean is also the founder of the experimental Indonesian music collective, Gamelan Suara Baru.