INDONESIA - The annual Miss World beauty pageant officially started on Sunday with a grand opening ceremony to welcome the arrival of 130 contestants from around the world, in an event showcasing the splendor and magnificence of Indonesia's cultures.
Held in The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali, the opening ceremony aired to more than 160 countries worldwide, combining traditional Indonesian dances and music performed by the contestants and local artists.
The spectacular opening show started with performances by singers Novita Dewi, Kamasean Matthews and Daniel Christanto singing a medley of Indonesian songs, "Tanah Airku" and "Nyiur Hijau", followed by 150 local dancers performing the famed kecak dance choreographed by Balinese artist I Ketut Rina.
The 150-minute show, attended by hundreds of state officials and ambassadors and watched by an estimated two billion people around the world, continued with the parade of the beautiful contestants wearing dresses by Indonesian designers.
Sixteen of the candidates were selected to perform Tari Kipas Cendana, an Indonesian dance specially created for this show by choreographer Eko Supriyanto. The dance combined the cultures of Halmahera, Sunda, Java and Bali, accompanied by an acculturation of various traditional musical instruments.
"It was a first-time experience for the contestants to learn this kipas dance. They were very enthusiastic and learned quite fast. After a total seven hours of practice, they were already able to perform it well," said John Fair, head of production and operations for Miss World 2013.
With the theme "Bring Indonesia's Beauty to the World", the entire series of events of Miss World 2013, organised by Miss World Organisation and its local partner MNC Group, ran on schedule, despite mounting protests from Islamic hard-line groups in several cities across Indonesia.
The organizers have promised that all activities in the event would be in accordance with Indonesian culture.