Blame it on my inner diva and my unwavering love for Broadway musicals, but I am always a fan of big productions featuring costumes and dance. In travel, it’s also a great way to learn about a different, lesser known aspect of a culture.
One of my best nights in Bali was spent at a performance of Devdan, Treasure of the Archipelago, an entertaining cultural dance and costume spectacle at the Bali Nusa Dua Theatre.
The concept behind Devdan is simple – to bring Indonesia’s diverse culture to the many travelers who visit the country, but may not travel beyond the island of Bali. Devdan tells the story of two tourists who stray from their tour group and discover a magical treasure chest containing relics from around the archipelago. Each item that they uncover transports them respectively to Bali, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, and Papua.
The story itself was a tenuous thread holding the changing scenes together, but the dance performances and beautiful costumes had me riveted throughout the entire 90 minute show. The mix of traditional clothes and dance with contemporary music was thrilling to watch, and the talent of the dancers was thoroughly impressive.
My favorite performance was a traditional dance from the Sumatra region. The dance consisted of intricate hand and body movements synchronized in perfect harmony between a group of seated individuals in a line. The prefect, fluid movements were simply amazing to watch.
Although all the performances were entertaining, I didn’t feel as though I was learning all that much about the various cultures featured in Devdan. Spanning five regions within 90 minutes amounts to a very limited exposure to the different cultures, and for some reason, the television screen with descriptions of the dances weren’t, oddly enough, in English. Descriptions, however, were offered in French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Descriptions in English would have given me a better understanding of the different dances taking place on stage, and perhaps even helped me to appreciate the performances more.
Overall, Devdan, Treasure of the Archipelago was an enjoyable show that showcased the impressive talent and diversity of Indonesia. For 90 minutes, it’s a good way to get a little exposure to the many cultures of Indonesia. Perhaps it may even entice you to return to Indonesia and further explore the country. I know it convince me!
For more information and to book your ticket to the Devdan show, please visit their website.
*Disclaimer: My night at Devdan was sponsored by the company, but all opinions are an accurate and honest view on my experience there. All press photos used courtesy of Bali Nusa Dua Theatre.