Image by Wannes Cré



Rianto is a specialist in the Central Javanese form of Lengger, a cross gender dance form from Banyumas. In Medium, Rianto recalls the term Lengger as derived from elinga ngger, meaning the “advice to be aware, to remember”.

After the success of SoftMachine, Rianto returns to his hometown and relationship to the Lengger masters. He strives not only for the survival of this form, but especially the space it holds beyond binary opposites. A space between manhood and womanhood, between customs and religious principles, between conscious control and trance. Medium is Rianto’s universal call for freedom, for eschewing dogma and embracing the contradiction, mysteries and layered diversity that is at the heart of Javanese tradition. 

A series of studies into the relationship between his religious body, social body, political body, and traditional body, Rianto’s virtuosic movement language is combined with a powerful live vocal and percussion score by Cahwati, also from Banyumas. Together they unfold the relationship between movement and sound that lies at the core of the Lengger tradition.

Co-commissioned by: Esplanade theatres on the Bay Singapore, Performance Space, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying), deSingel Internationale Kunstcampus, Staadstheatre Darmstadt

Supported by: Kommunitas Salihara, Darwin Festival

From Fusebox We were completely floored when I first saw Rianto perform Medium at Liveworks Festival in Sydney, Australia. In this work, Rianto performs the Central Javanese form of Lengger, a cross gender dance form from Banyumas. The performance feels simultaneously historical and perfectly situated within our present moment. Perhaps it even speaks to a future time. We would also be remiss if we didn’t mention the remarkable musical contribution from Cahwati (Rianto’s musical collaborator on stage). Their relationship is magnetic.

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