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Performing Otherness

Java and Bali on International Stages, 1905-1952

Performing Otherness by Matthew Isaac Cohen
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Today one finds many non-Indonesians studying gamelan. Dancers, musicians and puppeteers from Java and Bali are employed internationally, and Indonesian instruments are sampled in commercials. Performing Otherness explores an earlier period when Indonesian arts were internationally scarce, and the performance of a whole troupe from Java or Bali could spark an artistic revolution. Focusing on the late colonial period and the transition to independence, Performing Otherness encompasses the work and lives of dozens of performing artists (including Mata Hari, Artaud and Ruth St Denis) to delve into the international and wide-ranging influence of Javanese and Balinese performance. This book presents a fascinating critical history of representations of Java and Bali in Europe, the US, India and elsewhere around the world: Javanese 'temple dance' and wayang golek puppetry in fin-de-siècle Vienna; music and dance programmes mixing Gershwin and Java in jazz-age New York; a summer school for dancers in southern France run by a Javanese aristocrat; an arena spectacle at the foothills of the Himalayas inspired by Javanese shadow puppets; a gamelan performing nightly in a Chicago nightclub.
Palgrave Macmillan; October 2010
298 pages; ISBN 9780230309005
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Title: Performing Otherness
Author: Matthew Isaac Cohen
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