Struggle of a youth to break the ‘gender stereotype’ in dance through dance!
Riyanto, a 37 year old Indonesian dancer is trying to break the barriers that separate male and female dance through his peculiar dance moves that portray gender duality. Riyanto is a professional lengger dancer. Lengger is a traditional dance of Indonesia which represents the dual nature of gender.
His dance starts with slow, gentle feminine movements which later on turns into powerful masculine gestures. And, the whole performance continues in-between the shifts of his character.
‘Dance is an art that liberates one’s soul’, said he in an interview with a local newspaper.
‘That’s why I dance for spirituality rather than money’.
Riyanto further added, ‘Categorising a human as a man or a woman is injustice to them. We all have mixed characters of both that is why I don’t call myself either of them.’
According to him, the main motive of carrying this different dance form is to bring people out from their dogmatic beliefs regarding the gender biasness in dance. He strongly condemns the prevalent division in dance as feminine and masculine.
However, the 37- year professional lengger dancer is often criticized by his own country people.
A biopic made upon his life, ‘Memories of my body’ was nominated from Indonesia in the Oscars, the world’s greatest movie award in 2018. But the movie was highly criticized in his own country and some people from Indonesia are even running a campaign to ban it in the country.
Also, some people misunderstand them as a transgender.
Despite of the criticism, his dance is getting worldwide acceptance and appreciation.