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Telling the Stark Naked Truth

Bali's Most Famous Contemporary Dancer Nyoman Sura Ignores Unpopular Anti-Pornography Laws by Dancing in the Nude.

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Bali's internationally acclaimed dancer-choreographer, I Nyoman Sura, recently made known his feelings regarding Indonesia's anti-pornography laws by doing what he does best: dancing. And in what some see has a "stark" response to the laws that make criminal any display or suggestion of eroticism, Dewa Nyoman Sura danced in the nude.

Sura, who has performed at major dance programs around the world, is a professor of movement and dance at Bali's Institute of Arts (ISI).

Refusing to see his artistic expression and creativity stifled by the new anti-pornography law, Sura, appearing at the recent Bandung Dance Festival in West Java (May 22-23), performed the widely-praised "Waktu Itu" (That Time) which presents the talented choreographer-dancer's view of life's journey from the moment of birth until life's end. The dance reveals how time gives each of us our own space, meaning and final answer to the meaning of human life.

Sura's dance reflects his Bali-Hindu weltanschauung where, he explains, "the final answer of our life as humans is when we must once again face the creator (death), which in Bali is described with the term 'moksa.'" It is at that moment, according to Sura, that man abandons all his connections to the world, for only a free, peaceful and unencumbered soul can face God. Explaining further and as quoted in the Bali Post: "It is at this point (in the dance) that I take off my costume and all accessories. I appear naked, for only a body at peace can confront God. I walk on a piece of white cloth, symbolizing the journey to God."

Sura's West Java performance, presented before a large audience that included government cultural officials, received enthusiastic applause before its appreciative audience. The Bali Post depicted the performance as a statement of the dancer's rejection the anti-pornography law, underlining his belief that nudity when employed in artistic expression cannot not be automatically equated with pornography.

According to the press, Sura was emotionally moved when his dance performance in West Java earned a standing ovation and spontaneous cheers from the audience of "Long Live Bali! Live Bali! I Love Bali."

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