Preserving Javanese culture through Festival Dalang Cilik


UNY believes that cultural preservation efforts need to start at an early age. For this reason, UNY provides an opportunity for 30 young dalang (puppeteers) to compete in the Festival Dalang Cilik (Young Puppeteer Festival) UNY 2024.  The participants of this competition consisted of 15 elementary school students and 15 junior high school students. Interestingly, out of the 30 participants, there were 4 female dalang. The festival was held in the UNY-assisted village of Krapyak IX, Margoagung, Seyegan, Sleman.

"Thank you to the village administrators who have assisted UNY in encouraging synergy between Kraton, Campus, Village, and Office. UNY in its efforts to develop the village has designed 9 fields of development consisting of art, culinary, goat farming, tofu business, fisheries, sports, vegetable farming, poultry, and education. Hopefully, the various activities that we are doing and will do will encourage the village for the better," said UNY's Rector, Prof. Sumaryanto, in the opening of the UNY's Festival Dalang Cilik.

"The purpose of this activity is to educate children to love their own traditional culture, especially shadow puppets, and instill educational values in the younger generation. In particular, this activity is also a means of proving mastery of the elements and techniques in puppetry for young dalang," said Chief Executive Dr. Agus Murdiyanto.

The judges of the festival were Prof. Suminto A. Sayuti and Dr. Sukisno, M.Sn from the Faculty of Language, Arts and Culture UNY, and Udreka, M.Sn from ISI Yogyakarta. In this festival six criteria are assessed, namely the selection of the play, antawacana, story, sabetan, musical, and presentation. Antawacana is a conversation in a puppet show in the form of dialog, or other sign language.

"I have prepared myself since a month ago. I have participated in the Festival Dalang Cilik since the 5th grade of elementary school and I participated in the Festival Dalang Cilik organized by UNY four times. Hopefully, this event will be a regular event that gives many young dalang opportunities to showcase and develop themselves," said Kunta Wijaya, the first participant who was in 9th grade. (Author: Ahmad Naji'ulah & Panji Nur Fitri Yanto, Editor: Dedy, Tj.lak)

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