ASTRI KUSUMA WARDANI (dancer/choreography) is one of the most talented Javanese dancers who graduated from the dance department at the Indonesian Institute for the Arts in Solo. She began her studies in Javanese court dance when she was 8 years old in her native village, Wonosobo. She has studied Javanese dance, improvisation, and choreography with Suprapto Suryodarmo, Rusini, Dedy Luthan, Eko Supriyanto, S. Pamardi, and all of her teachers at the SMKI (the Indonesian High School for the Arts) and at STSI/ISI Surakarta.
Wardani’s dance and choreography have been presented throughout Indonesia at such venues as the Malang Arts Festival, the Sukuh temple in Surakarta, and in the film Opera Jawa, directed by Garin Nugroho. She has danced and choreographed Offering and Plain Kertas at the Dance Box for the Osaka Performing Arts Messe festival, the Osaka Sort Play festival in Osaka, and the Opening Theatre of Neue Ruine in Okayama, Japan. Additional credits include The Iron Bed, directed by Garin Nugroho at the Theatre Spectacle Zurich Switzerland (August 2008) and the Indonesian Dance Festival (October 2008) in Jakarta, Indonesia. Most recently, she danced and choreographed for Peter Sellars and John Adams’ opera A Flowering Tree, which premiered at Sellars’ New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna, Austria. In February 2009, she premiered her new choreography of All You Can Eat at the Taman Budaya in Surakarta, Indonesia.
Wardani is one of the foremost Javanese Court dancers in her generation, creating an atmosphere that combines the philosophy of the classical dance with the new vocabulary of contemporary dance. Her work with Peter Sellars is a testament to her commitment to a continued creation of works in dance and performance while simultaneously keeping the traditional style alive.