Indonesian Mask Dance

Indonesia is a country that is rich in traditional culture. Countries that have traditional arts that are very diverse, such as regional dances. Dances in each region have their own uniqueness. One of the original dances from Indonesia that is quite unique is the Mask Dance.

Mask dance is a traditional dance originating from Cirebon, West Java. This dance is performed by dancers who wear masks. The uniqueness of this dance is the mask that is worn has a different character.

Dancers who perform Mask Dance are called Dalang. Because every dancer plays the character on the mask worn. This dance can be performed by one dancer and can also be performed by several dancers.

History of Mask Dance

This dance has actually been around since the 10th century AD, during the reign of King Panji Dewa who was the King of Jenggala in East Java. Over time, from Cirebon this dance then spread to areas in West Java.

This dance contains symbols that have certain meanings. The symbols contained in this dance can be love, leadership value and wisdom. At the time of this dance performance, the audience is expected to understand the symbols conveyed by dancers.

Even Sunan Gunung Jati and Sunan Kalijaga use this dance as propaganda media for the spread of Islam and can also be entertainment around the palace.

Mask Dance Performance

In ancient times this dance was performed in a semicircular open space. Like for example performances held on the home page, and for the lighting using a torch.

Along with the rapid development of technology, now this dance performance is performed in the building, and electric lights as lighting. The purpose of this dance performance is divided into 3 parts, including:

  • Communal performances

Performances held for all members of the community. Almost all people participated in this dance performance. The event was quite spectacular, there was a puppeteer procession and attractions. Usually these performances are held more than one night. Examples of communal performances are village celebrations, ngunjung or grave pilgrimages, and ngarot kasinom (youth events).

  • Individual performances

Performance events held by individuals. For example to enliven a wedding, circumcision, and khaulan or someone who carries out vows. Usually these performances are staged in the yard of the owner’s intent.

  • Babarangan Performance

This performance was a staging around the village, this was done because of the initiative of the dalang mask itself. This performance usually goes around villages that have already harvested, if the village has not yet harvested, the itineraries are carried out in a busy city. When the village is not yet harvested, a tour of the city is carried out because the village is experiencing a drought and the village is quiet.

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