In the summer of 2019, the Philadelphia Folklore Project commenced work with the Indonesian community, concentrated in South Philadelphia, around the practice of traditional music and dance through the Gamelan Angklung Workshop taught by Tom Whitman. The project is in partnership with Modero & Company (Philadelphia-based Indonesian dance ensemble).

The residencies strengthen cultural traditions, create opportunities for people to explore and practice folk arts connecting past history and present issues, address underemployment of skilled traditional artists, and build bridges across generations and communities.


Tom Whitman, Ph.D. - Artist

Composer and musician Thomas Whitman first studied Indonesian music as a Luce Scholar in Bali in 1986-7. His primary teacher was the Balinese master musician I Madé Gerindem. Whitman subsequently earned earned a Ph.D. in Music from the University of Pennsylvania and has continued to study Balinese music on numerous research trips to Indonesia as well as with his current teacher in the United States, I Nyoman Suadin. Whitman has taught at Swarthmore College since 1990. While there, he founded Gamelan Semara Santi, the Philadelphia area’s first Indonesian Gamelan (classical percussion orchestra) in 1997, and he has co-directed it ever since

In addition to his college-level teaching, Whitman has served as a volunteer music teacher in several elementary schools in under-served communities. He began the Chester Children’s Gamelan Project in 2004 at Chester Community Charter School, where he provided instruction in Balinese Gamelan to elementary school children on a weekly basis. The program subsequently resided for ten years at Stetser Elementary in the Chester Upland School district and then relocated to Chester Charter School for the Arts for two years. Since the fall of 2018 he has taught Balinese Gamelan two afternoons per week at William D. Kelley School in North Philadelphia. Whitman resigned his tenured position at Swarthmore in 2018 in order to devote more time to composition and to his volunteer work with children, though he remains a part-time faculty member at Swarthmore.

Deddy Raksawardana - Digital Media

Dedi Raksawardana (Deddy) is a director of video productions, including feature films, and is the founder of Kanamusik Studio in Bandung and AIR Production in the city of Jakarta, Indonesia. Additionally, he is a former guitarist of the band, Naff. For 19 years, he worked with the top Indonesian musicians and artists, and he had the honor of bringing Naff to one of the leading pop star groups in Indonesia.

He recently moved to Philadelphia and is now making documentary videos under the production company, Good Avocados.


Sinta Penyami Storms - Modero & Company

Sinta Penyami Storms is a traditional Indonesian dance artist. Beginning her dance training at age five in Indonesia, she continued studying dance throughout elementary school. Tari Bondan (a Javanese dance) was the 1st dance she learned. In Jakarta she began studying Pamonian dance under Rein Puragombo, who was a protege of the renowned choreographer Bagong Kusudiarjo of Yogyakarta. Rein Puragombo created a new style (kreasi baru) of Pamonian dances, based on traditional practices. With him, Sinta learned dances such as Pepoinaya, Mopea ri Lobo, and Motaro. At age 10, she began performing at various venues including the Indonesia Miniature Park (Taman Mini Indonesia Indah).

In 2011, she founded Modero in a mission to preserve and promote the traditional Indonesian culture. Modero has performed locally, nationally and internationally including in Indonesia and the Republic of Panama.

Nikedila De Wanda - Modero Dance Instructor

Nikedila De Wanda (nickname: Nike) was born in the capital city of Jakarta but grew up in the city of Bandung. Her parents came from two different ethnic groups in Indonesia. Her father was from Palembang (South Sumatra) and her mother was from Banten (West Java). Growing up in Indonesia, Nike learned traditional dances under the guidance of the Sekar Tampaksiring Dance Company in the art of traditional Balinese dance and the Santika Group for West Javanese traditional dance.

Nike moved to Philadelphia in 2014 and joined Modero & Company and has since performed in many prestigious events, such as the World Festival of Families during the Papal visit in 2015, Philadelphia Phillies’ Asian Pacific Heritage Night (2015-2019), and many more. Nike became an apprentice of Sinta Penyami Storms, the founder of Modero, and has assisted in teaching the Indonesian community traditional dance.

Past Events


Gamelan Gita Santi - Spring Semester 2022

March 1, 2022 – June 5, 2022
Philadelphia Praise Center
These classes are part of an initiative with South Philadelphia’s burgeoning Indonesian population. Our aim is to harness the practice of Balinese music, dance and narrative to encourage inter-ethnic community building and establish a sustainable local music performance group for traditional dance.

Past Events

Demonstrations, Workshops

Interactive Balinese Experience: Music, Dance, and Ritual

Saturday, April 2, 2022 @ 11:00 am
Indonesian Community Center
Join us for an exciting lecture and interactive cultural presentation, led by Dr. Indra Sadguna & Ayu Desiari. We'll learn about the music and dance of Bali, their ritual elements, and how to make traditional offerings. These illustrative instructors teach and perform around the world, including Australia, Japan, Singapore, China, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada and the United States.