People living around Keputran, located on the slope of Mount Merapi in Central Java, enthusiastically participated in the 2019 Jathilan Festival on June 19.
Jathilan is a type of folk dance that traditionally depicts the skills of horseback warriors, accompanied by gamelan, that aims to induce spiritual possession.
Historically, the dance was performed in villages to entertain people and give them courage to fight against the Dutch colonizers.
Using bamboo-woven horse dolls, jathilan is better known as kuda lumping (heavy horse) within Javanese communities. Forty jathilangroups from Klaten, Central Java entertained festival-goers.
The dance, however, did not feature spiritual possession during the festival.
Instead, the dancers presented an elegant horse dance with dynamic and harmonious movements in beat with melodious pentatonic musical tones.
The heat of the sun failed to dampen the zeal of performers and the dust from their stomping feet did not deter spectators.
The contemporary jathilan groups, exploring innovations in decorative costumes and dance steps with their jingling ankle bells, offeredtheir best choreographic pieces through intensive training, combined with masks to enhance their performances.