Bali Nusa Dua Theatre, Indonesia.
11 May 2018.
It’s rare that this writer is lost for words. The biggest part of my job is to specifically select adequate words to effectively describe an event to a literary audience. In this instance, I find myself in a position when I struggle to find any words sufficient enough to describe the masterpiece that is the Devdan Show. It’s an exhilarating, mesmerising and captivating and is a must-see when visiting Bali.
Devdan Show is a choreographically awe-inspiring masterpiece of cultural history and dance perfection, which has everything you could possibly ask for in a production. From acrobatics, martial arts, hip hop, traditional dance to aerial acts, pole dance, fire dance and even an onstage swimming pool, there is the Cirque du Soleil of Indonesia.
Don’t worry if you’re not completely up to speed with your Indonesian history lessons! The production makes sure you can follow along and keeps you visually informed throughout the show with sections of explanations by cast members and televisions, with short synopses surrounding the theme of the dance on stage.
The show is brilliant and far surpasses the expectations I had for an Indonesian cultural show. Although technical excellence left a little to be desired, this was forgiven by the sheer brilliance of the show as a whole. It was captivating and dynamic, a true journey through each and every part of Indonesian history and culture.
The shows starts with a what looks like a typical tour group doing the average tour of Indonesia – following their tour guides’s little red flag and taking photos along the way. Two children abandon the group and find themselves in a cave, where they stumble upon a secret chest full of wonders from yesteryear. As they uncover each of the hidden treasures within, we are transported to different eras and areas of Indonesia, and there, our epic journey through this incredible world begins.
For dancers and non-dancers alike, there really is something for everyone – interactive sections and cute “monkeying around” kept the young and young-at-heart entertained, and as we were transported through more than 15 different dances/cultural exhibitions, the ever-changing costumes and props kept everyone engaged and excited throughout the non-stop exhibition. Comprised of fun and light-hearted moment, set perfectly with elements of intense and rich cultural/historic acknowledgement. Not only is it beautiful to watch, but it’s laced with exciting aerial stunts, pyrotechnics and even aquatic dance that bring the showmanship to a whole new level.
The show changes every two years and is comprised of around 60 cast members, who ensure that each and every moment is eye-catching and an experience in and of itself. The hour-and-a-half show doesn’t miss a beat. The intricacy and timing of the choreography kept a smile on the faces of the audience through the duration. Obviously, a very well rehearsed production, the Devdan Show would have you see something new each time you visit and would be enjoyed by people of all ages and all backgrounds. Indonesia is so incredibly diverse, and the show only enriches its culture more, exciting me to get out and explore more than just the markets and nightlife. I’m already anxious to see it again and again!
By Jessie Krieg of Dance Informa.