All about Java Indonesia

Java Indonesia Traditional Dance

java indonesian dance

Indonesia is a country rich of arts, from art of painting, art of dancing, art of carving, etc. Every island in Indonesia has its own special Indonesian dance, including in java island. Below are some Dancings can be found in java indonesia culture.

1. West of Java

Mask dance (tari topeng) is one of famous traditional dancing in west java area. Historically, the show of mask dance started in Cirebon in 19th century and then known as Bahakan mask. In 1930’s some areas in west java such as Sumedang, Bandung, Garut and Tasikmalaya, visited by a group of mask dance in form of human puppet with the puppeteer named Koncer and Wentar. Historically, this is the theory of the first mask dance to west java, and Priangan declared to be the starting point of its development.

The next dancing from west java is jaipong. Jaipong is a genre of dancing which born from the creativity of an artist from bandung, Gugum gumbira. The moves of bukaan, pencugan, nibakeun, and some moves of minced from some other art of  java, has inspired to develop the art/dancing which now called jaipongan. As a social dancing, jaipong succeed to be developed by a sundanese artist becomes a dancing which is so popular among the society and liked by Javanese people specially, and even famous through out west java.

To call jaipongan actually will remind of a traditional sundanese dancing which is attractive with dynamic moves. Hand, shoulder, and hips always be dominant parts in the active pattern of moves which escorted by the music of kendang (Indonesia’s traditional drum made from membrane skin). Especially for female dancers, the whole movements always accompanied with sweet smile and eye peek.

Nowadays, jaipongan can be considered as one of identities of west java indonesia. This thing reflects from some important events which involve guests from other nations who visit west java, that being welcomed by jaipong dance. Abroad cultural missions also always include jaipong dance to be performed. Besides those two dancing, west java also has other dancing such as banjet dance, debus dance and kuda lumping dance.

2. Central of Java

Another province in java which is famous for the dancing is central java. One of famous dancing in central java is bedaya ketawang. Bedaya ketawang is one of dancing comes from Solo and Yogyakarta. This dancing danced by 9 dancers, included into a sacral dancing, hence it may not be danced anytime.

This dance only performed every Jumenengan (the celebration of king’s reign every year) and the day to practice it must be in special day, that is in selasa kliwon (selasa means Tuesday in javanese, kliwon is one Javanese calendar’s day, beside legi, pahing, pon and wage, repeat every 5 days). Bedaya ketawang is such a long dance. It takes approximately 2 hours from start to the ending of this javanese dance.

Next dancing is bondan dance. This dance is a story of a little girl, who carries a doll with open umbrella. She dances carefully on a kendi (Javanese pitcher made from pottery) and she may not crash it. This dance symbolizes a mother who takes care of his baby.

Another dancing is peacock dance (tari merak). This dance might be the most popular dance in java. Other versions can also be seen in west and east java. Like the name, peacock dance is a dance symbolizes peacock’s moves. It is a solo dance but also can be performed in a group. The dancers usually wear a shawl which is tied to the hips, that if its spread, will similar as a bird’s wing. Dancers also wear crown, shaped like peacock head.

3. East of Java

East java also has famous dancing. One of them is reog ponorogo. The moves in reog ponorogo describe human’s attitude in his life journey, from birth, live and death. There are five components in reog ponorogo dancing: prabu kelono sewandono, patih bujangganong, jathil, warok and pembarong.

Pembarong is the dancer with the most important role in the dancing. He is the dancer which carry dadak merak ( lion-head shaped mask with peacock decorations in it, with height up to 2 m and weight 50 kg. Pembarong wears a black trousers and kimplong shirt (one-shouldered shirt) and bites the wood part inside the mask to lift the dadak merak. Pembarong has to be a strong one, since he has to control dadak merak, from touching the dadak merak to the floor and re-lift it again in straight position.

Jejer gandrung is another dancing from east java. This dance is one of dancing comes from banyuwangi. Jejer gandrung dance performed to welcome guests who visit banyuwangi. This dancing danced by several pretty and charming young girls.


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