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Preserving Barongan performing arts in Plosorejo, Karanganyar

Stefanus Ajie

The Jakarta Post

Karanganyar, Central Java  /  Sun, April 2, 2017  /  08:57 am
Preserving Barongan performing arts in Plosorejo, Karanganyar

The Barongan uses masks to illustrate the characters being played, which can be a knight, a clown, spirits, animals and other mystical creatures according to Java legend. (JP/Stefanus Ajie)

Gamelan music could be heard faintly on the slopes of Mount Lawu, in the village of Plosorejo, Karanganyar, Central Java. It was coming from the house of Anang Gondo Sarwanto, a student at the Indonesian Fine Arts Institute (ISI) in Surakarta who is studying wayang (Javanese puppets).

Warok, a powerful knight with a gallant appearance.(JP/Stefanus Ajie)

On that Tuesday morning, Anang performed several traditional dances known as Barongan performing arts to celebrate the anniversary of the Nayantaka arts community, where he teaches dance, wayang and gamelan to young villagers. About 40 children from elementary to high school have joined the community. Anang is hopeful that engaging children in art activities will have a positive impact on their daily lives amid the strong influence of modernization.

Ganongan dance depicting a character named Klana Sewandono.(JP/Stefanus Ajie)

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A Jatilan dancer falls into a trance while performing outdoors. (JP/Stefanus Ajie)

By noon the performance had began with the Jathilan dance, which depicts the courage of horsemen, followed by the Ganongan dance staged by elementary school students. At the peak of the event, the audience was entertained by the famous Reog dance, which include a number of dancers performing in a trance. 

The dance is accompanied by a combination of Javanese gamelan and Western musical instruments.(JP/Stefanus Ajie)

The Barongan uses masks to illustrate the characters being played, which can be a knight, a clown, spirits, animals and other mystical creatures according to Java legend. A variety of dances that are part of Barongan include Reog, Jatilan, Kuda Lumping, Klana Topeng, Warok and Ganongan. These dances feature a series of movements that depict various Panji stories, the epic story of Raden Inu Kertapati and Dewi Sekartaji in the days of the Khadiri Kingdom in East Java (1042-1222). (kes)