Padepokan means Javanese traditional schooling; seni means Art. MR. Bagong Kussudiardja himself is a 69 years old artist - Pundit (in Javanese: Begawan) in the field of art and culture. He is a traditional dancer, choreographer, painter, sculptor, poet and teacher. The P.S.B.K is located in the village of KEMBARAN, sub-district of Kasihan Bantul Regency, about 8 Km south west of Yogya City.

Pak Bagong (the name he is usually referred to) has started his career as a Yogyanese classical dancer in 1954. Like many dancers in Yogya, he had first acquainted with this art through the court dance school: Kredo Bekso Wiromo under the leadership of a prominent dance expert Prince Tedjokusumo.

As an pro-active artist, he has an idea of his own: to express his idea and soul thru dancing. The Javanese dance should grow naturally, not to remain static. "Adoring, maintaining and working on it, to make it a resource of new dance creations" is Pak Bagong's basic doctrine which he consistently pursuits.

With strong determination, he managed to establish "Bagong Kussudiardjo" Dance Training Center in March 5,1958. Since then, many new dances have been created. After a long years of practice and accurate observation, the Begawan comes to a conclusion to set up an art traditional schooling (Padepokan Seni) in dancing, KETHOPRAK (traditional theatre accompanied with gamelan music), KARAWITAN (traditional music performance with gamelan instruments) and SINDEN (singers in Karawitan). Thus in October 3, 1978, the Padepokan Seni Bagong Kussidiardjo was officially inangurated.

The Begawan's principle to be realized: to cultivate and push ahead someone's creativity in art activities. Let it grows and develops. The guidance is Pancasila; the supportive means is freedom of creativity.

The newest dance drama creation: "SANGGIT / Interpretation"

Pak Bagong has created more than 100 dances and he never stops. He has experienced up and down in his profession. At present, during time of concern. He is staging his new creation "Sanggit", which will be performed in Purna Budaya Hall, Yogyakarta an April 2 and 3, 1998 and in T.B.S. Solo on April 11, 1998. It shall start at 08.00 pm, and the show duration is 40 minutes. The show is co-sponsored by Purna Budaya, Yogya; T.B.S. Solo and supported by local Kedaulatan Rakyat daily.

However his Padepokan has to dig-out also from its own pocket a considerable sum of money for his performance. This is the cost of his devotion to art and his appreciation to the art lovers.

The Story:
In the period of restlessness where the real truth is not yet clear, Batara (God) Guru who is entitled to give instruction to other Gods and has the authority to govern the earth, becomes also restless. The vibration of his feeling and anger cause the world to quiver. The victims lay sprawled every where. The tension between white (good things) and black (bad things) keeps going on.

The victims are complaining to Batara Ismaya (other name of Semar) - the one who is taking care of good manner of life. He feels responsible to find a solution to get out from this difficulties. He went to Sanghyang Wenang, the superior God for consultation of how to overcome the delicate situation. Although he got some advises from SangHyang Wenang, he is still confused, even he himself is almost tempted.
In fact Batara Ismaya has to solve his own private problem. Long time ago he has swallowed "the Egg of Earth", he is aware that he had swallowed too much. Since then he tries to vomit it, but so far, he does not succeed.

In the meantime the people is still suffering, they are helpless. Batara Guru manages to compose back his mind. With the help of Batara Narada, they do something to ease the tension. Meanwhile Batara ANTAGA continually outcries his feeling, telling noisely what he has seen, heard and felt. He can not control himself and at last he is fainted. The above facts paves the way to a new consciousness-the unity of life elements. The strength to overcome all difficulties rests on the sense of togetherness in the spirit of unity and integrity.

"Sanggit" dance drama performance reflects the uneasy feeling of Pak Bagong towards the present situation in this country, which he hears, reads, sees and feels by himself. It depends to the art loves and the public what's the meaning of Sanggit dance as the word Sanggit means interpretation.

In the press conference took place in his Padepokan, the great artist with a long list of Awards and certificates of Appreciation said that Sanggit performance was meant to commomerate 40 years of existance of Bagong Kussudiardjo Dance Training Center. The training which includes 18 senior dances, has started since December last year.
The Sanggit dance shall expose movements of Yogyanese style, even the old style of movement "MERAK NGIGEL"- the beatifully exotic movements of a peacock -can be seen again in this episode. The Balinese dance expression, can be felt strongly in Sanggit.

The music arrangement is entrusted to his son, Jadug who is also using modern music instrument beside the traditional gamelan set. The music accompaniment with Javanese and Balinese charasteristic and rock and roll are clearly exposed during training. The Begawan said that Jadug music arrangement can fit well with his feeling and desire.

The artists in change for the performance are among other:

Stage manager : Sutopo T.
Asst. Choreographer : Ida M and Heru H.
Producer : Butet K.
Costume Manager : Pak Bagong and Ida W
Chroreographer and art Director : Pak Bagong

To conclude the impressive dance training, Slametan, a praying together surrounding traditional rice cone, wishing safety and success of the performance was solemnly conducted by all artists and the invitees. It seems "Sanggit" should be another Pak Bagong's masterpiece.

(Suryo S. Negoro)

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