The Dance That Makes You VanishCultural Reconstruction in Post-Genocide Indonesia

The Dance That Makes You VanishCultural Reconstruction in Post-Genocide Indonesia

Rachmi Diyah Larasati

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780816679935

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press


Larasati elucidates the complex, often paradoxical relationships between the dancing body and the Indonesian state since 1965. In the brief period from late 1965 to early 1966, approximately 1 million Indonesians, including a large percentage of the country’s musicians, dancers, and artists were killed, arrested, or disappeared as then-general Suharto took control of the nation, implanting his “New Order” regime, which would rule for the next thirty years. Looking back on the New Order from the context of the present, Larasati interrogates the specific ways in which female dancing bodies have been dealt with by the state: vilified, punished, then replaced with idealized, state aligned bodies. Drawing on critical ethnography and the theorization of dance as methodological approaches, the book analyses the relationship of corporeal punishment and the political economics of display to cultural production in the context of East-West cultural exchange, tourism, state diplomatic “culture missions,” and world/ ethnic dance as defined by its peripheral relationship to Europe and the US. Within this framework, Larasati seeks to expand understandings of the moving, dancing body as deployed by state power: a dual-edged rhetorical strategy that enacts the erasure of historical violence, while simultaneously providing access to mobility and a certain space for the negotiation of identity and female citizenship.