• Teddy Soeriaatmadja, Lovely man © Iyas Lawrence

Arco Renz, Intan Paramaditha, Norman Erikson Pasaribu & Didik Nini Thowok Travesty / Tradition



21 11 '17 - 17:00

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Maison du Spectacle la Bellone
Rue de Flandre 46
B-1000 Bruxelles



T +32 (0)2 513 33 33 


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EUROPALIA, La Bellone, Rainbowhouse, Tels Quels, Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia

La rencontre se passe en anglais

With more than 87% of the population considering themselves Muslim, Indonesia is by far the largest Muslim country in the world. However, the view on gender is not as set in stone as one might expect, and this diversity is able to survive despite the increasing religious pressure.

The most famous example is the five genders of the Buginese people in South Sulawesi. There are the makkunrai and oroané, women and men whose gender identity corresponds with their biological sex. There are calabai (“fake women”) and calalai (“fake men”), people born as biological men who take on the gender identity of a heterosexual woman, and vice versa. Transcending these four genders is the bissu, a powerful shaman who combines all the gender characteristics of men, women, calabai’s and calalai’s. The Buginese manage to marry this view on gender with their Muslim faith. One of the main tasks of the bissu is to bless the pilgrims on their way to Mecca.

Another example is the lengger fertility dance from Banyumas, that was until recently danced exclusively by men cross-dressing as women. The word lengger is a contraction of the words leng (vagina) and jengger (Adam’s apple).

Didik Nini Thowok (TBC)

Didik Nini Thowok, a master dancer from Java, Indonesia, is known throughout Indonesia for his unique style combining classical, folk, modern, and comedic dance forms. One of the few artists to continue the long Indonesian tradition of “Traditional Cross Gender“ in the dance form, Didik is renowned for his talent in impersonating female characters and for his skill in various dance traditions such as topeng (mask dance), Sundanese, Cirebon, Balinese, and of course Central Javanese. 

Arco Renz

The choreographer and dancer Arco Renz came to PARTS after a career as an actor. He has since worked as a performer and assistant to Robert Wilson and as an assistant to Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. As a specialist in the Indonesian contemporary dance scene, he has been chosen to curate the EUROPALIA INDONESIA performing arts programme. He is currently developing Monsoon, a series of research and performance platforms bringing together Asian and European artists.

Intan Paramaditha

Intan Paramaditha has published several short story collections and a play in Indonesian. She has a PhD in film studies and a BA in English literature. Her research focuses on media, cultural activism, and sexual politics in the convergence and tension between national and cosmopolitan trajectories.

Norman Erikson Pasaribun

Norman Erikson Pasaribun is an emerging poet and short story writer. His sophisticated narratives and lyrics give a voice to the silenced world of the LGBT community in Indonesia. His anthology of poetry won the Jakarta Arts Council in 2015