otherwise, they're created by visiting Indonesian artists--choreographers, dancers, composers, puppeteers--who generally appear in the performance as well. Due to the longstanding ties between the U-M and several institutions on the Indonesian island of Java, these visiting artists tend to be unusually interesting, bringing works that would be novel and compelling even for Indonesians themselves. In the U.S., events like these occur almost nowhere but Ann Arbor.
Javanese classical dance, an ancient and superlatively elegant tradition, draws local audiences all by itself with its deliberate and hypnotic beauties. But this year's presentation, "Love Flows: An Islamic Dance Drama with Gamelan," offers a new take on the tradition. Most Javanese court dances are based on two Hindu epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, that came to the Indonesian archipelago around the 7th century C.E. This dance, as the title indicates, tells a story that comes out of the more recent wave of influences from the Islamic cultural sphere. Indeed, the story was first made into a dance by this year's visiting artist, the renowned Javanese choreographer F. X. Widaryanto.