Top 15 Indonesian Folk Dance [#5 is So Ethnic)

Like we all know, Indonesia is the heaven of cultures. Many unique things can be found here, one of them is the dances. Indonesia has its own customs dances, based on their religion. Every region has their own special dance that different from other areas. Some of them also considered rare to see.

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For you who really want to see it, of course you need to know the information and also in what region its made, right? That’s why, we made you the list of the top 15 Indonesian Folk Dance. So what are those dances? Lets check them below

1. Saman Dance

This unique dance comes from Aceh. Saman Dance is also known for the harmonization of the choir and also the quick movement of the dance itself. That’s why, Saman Dance make Indonesia more proud to have it. Since 24 November 2011, saman dance has been designated as one of Indonesia’s Unique Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in the sixth session of the Intergovernmental Committee held in Bali.

Saman dance during the Sultanate of Aceh was only shown on the occasion of the Prophet Muhammad’s Mawlid at the surau-surau or mosque in the Gayo area, but in its development he was later played on public occasions such as birthday parties, weddings, circumcisions, and other events now.

2. Legong Dance

In the royal period of Bali, this dance is only displayed in the palace environment. Legong word itself comes from the origin of the word “Leg” which has the meaning of flexible and “gong” which can be interpreted as a gamelan. Therefore, this dance has a graceful movement that is accompanied by a traditional Balinese gamelan called Semar Pegulingan. In addition, the dancers who played Legong use a fan, except the character Condong.

In Bali, there are several types of Legong Dance that developed over time, namely Legong Keraton or Legong Lasem, Legong Legong Bawa, Legong Jobog, Legong Smaradahana, Legong Sudarsana and Legong Kuntul.

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3. Yapong Dance

Yapong dance is a dance of the Betawi people in Jakarta. This dance is a contemporary dance that symbolizes the joy and social community. This dance is often performed at various events or festivities in the city of Jakarta. The movement in Yapong Dance is a simple but very dynamic movement. Relying on the movement of the feet, hands and hips. Dancers dance with gleeful expression by playing hand and foot alternately, and the hips that follow the movement.

The origin of Yapong Dance began in 1977 when Jakarta’s 450th anniversary celebration. At that time the event held the theme of Prince Jayakarta’s struggle and entrusted to a great artist named Bagong Kussudiarjo as the organizer of the event. To prepare the event Bagong conducted a study on the life of Betawi people. In the study, he made direct observations to the Betawi community and conducted research through libraries, slides and also films about Betawi society. Until finally became a single that was staged at the Hall senyan session, Jakarta on 20 June 1977.

4. Jaipong Dance

Jaipong Dance is one of West Java’s traditional art that is very popular in Indonesia. Jaipong dance is a merger of some traditional arts such as pencak silat, puppet show, tap tilu and the others. This dance is often performed at various events such as welcoming guests and cultural festivals.

Historically, Jaipong Dance is a dance created by an artist named H. Suanda from Karawang. This dance began in 1976 through the media tape with the name “Suanda Group”. At that time, they still use simple instruments as accompanist like drum, tap, kecrek, goong, rebab and sinden. Through the recording tape media it got a good response from the community.

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5. Papua Welcome Dance

The Welcome Dance is a traditional dance in a kind of welcoming dance originating from the Papuan region. This dance is usually performed by male and female dancers to welcome the honored guest or important guests who visit there. The Welcome Dance is one of the most famous traditional dances in Papua. In addition to its typical and energetic movements, this dance is certainly rich in meaning and values ​​in it.

The Dance of Welcome has existed since ancient times. Papua itself basically has many tribes and each tribe usually has its own distinctive features in their welcome dance.

The long-time welcome dance is often performed by the people there to welcome guests, whether from out of town, out of tribe, or other important guests who are considered honorable or well-intentioned in their arrival. The Welcome Dance is also a symbol of respect and a sign that the guest is well received by the people there.

6. Sekapur Sirih Dance

Sekapur Sirih dance is one of the traditional dances originating from Jambi. This dance is a type of dance that is usually danced by female dancers. Dressed in custom dress and accompanied by musical instruments, they danced in their gentle movements and performed cerano as a sign of offerings. The Dance of Sekapur Betih is one of the most famous traditional dances in Jambi area and is usually shown to welcome the honorable guests who visit there.

According to its history, the dance of Sekapur Sirih was first created by one of the most famous artists in Jambi, named Firdaus Chatap. Then this dance was introduced to the wider community in 1962. Because at that time it was still a basic movement, some artists began to develop this dance. By collaborating with the accompaniment of music and songs, making it more interesting and increasingly popular among the public.

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7. Maengket Dance

Maengket Dance is one of the traditional dances of Minahasa people who living in North Sulawesi. This dance is usually performed en masse (dancers with a lot of numbers), both male dancers and female dancers.

Maengket dance is one of the most famous traditional dances in North Sulawesi and is still maintained until now. This dance is often displayed at various events such as harvesting festivals, traditional ceremonies, welcoming, performing arts and others.

Maengket Dance has existed since the Minahasa people known agriculture, especially planting rice in the fields. In ancient times, the Maengket Dance was shown to enliven the harvesting ceremony as an expression of gratitude and joy to God for the harvest they received.

8. Suanggi Dance

The Suanggi dance is a dance of war that symbolizes the heroism of the Papuan. Its usually performed when the tribal chief commands his warriors to fight, and the dance is actually to be the driving force of the warriors to keep their spirits alive and steady. But now, with development according to this time, government regulations forbid the war between tribes, making the dance is merely a welcome dance.

Suanggi dance is only danced by 16 men and 2 women, they dance with enthusiasm with accompaniment of musical instruments called the tifa and then sing of the power-generation songs. Dancers wear is a special costume of a papua that is dressed with beads that decorate the chest and skirt made of roots and leaves that are inserted around their body, thereby proving the dancers love of the nature of the universe.

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9. Tor-Tor Dance

Tor Tor dance is one type of dance that comes from the Batak tribe on the island of Sumatra. Since about the 13th century, Tor Tor Dance has become a culture of the Batak tribe. The estimate was put forward by former members of the North Sumatra platform 1973-2010 and Tor Tor Dance experts.

Formerly, Tor Tor tradition exists only in the life of the Batak tribe community in the area of ​​Samosir, Toba region and part of Humbang region. However, after Christian entry in the Silindung region, this culture is known for its modern singing and dance culture.

Tor Tor dance is also very famous to the corners of the world, the evident is  many foreign and local tourists who want to learn this dance. Today Tor Tor dance is turn into an art culture, its no longer a dance that closely related to the spirit world. Because along the development of the era, Tor Tor is a cultural device in every indigenous life of the Batak tribe.

10. Bedhaya Dance

Bedhaya Ketawang dance is a great dance performed only during the coronation and the rise of the king’s throne in Kasunanan Surakarta. This dance is a sacred dance for the people and Kasunanan Surakarta.

The name Bedhaya Ketawang Tari is taken from the word bedhaya which means female dancers in the palace, and ketawang meaning heaven, which is identical to something high, glorious and noble.

According to its history, this dance began when Sultan Agung ruled the Mataram empire in 1613 – 1645. At one time the Sultan Agung performed a ritual then he heard the sounds from the sky, the great Sultan was amazed by it. Then he summoned his guards and said what had happened. From that incident the Sultan Agung created a dance called the bedhaya ketawang.

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11. Rapai Geleng Dance

Rapa’i Geleng dance is a manifestation of da’wah media that is represented in the form of performing arts. This dance was born and developed in Manggeng Aceh Barat Daya, but the name of the creator is unknown. This dance have emerged for a long time, but it was only known by the people of Aceh widely after the performance in the Aceh Culture Week.

This dance, in the medium of delivery using the Aceh language sung by Cahi (vocalist) followed by the dancers. The movement is almost the same as Saman’s moves, but the tools and languages ​​used are different. Dance began to develop in the last 20 years since the 1980s. This dance was performed in Aceh Culture Week until the year 2004. Now many studios in Aceh start to learn this dance.

12. Serimpi Dance

Serimpi dance is one of the classical dances from Yogyakarta danced by some beautiful and elegant female dancers. This dance depicts modesty and gentleness, which is shown by slow and gentle movements by the dancers. Serimpi dance is also originally a dance that is sacred and only displayed in the palace of Yogyakarta.

This Serimpi Dance has existed since the time of success of the Mataram kingdom in the reign of Sultan Agung. At that time, this dance is one of the sacred dances, which is only performed in the palace environment for ceremonies and Sultan’s anniversary. Because its a sacred dance, the dancers has been elected by the Royal family.

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13. Piring (Plate) Dance

In addition to the abundance of natural attractions, West Sumatra also has many art styles that will make you amazed. One of them is the dance art of the area which is named Plate dance. In recent years, the government of West Sumatra make this dance to became one of the assets to attract the attention of tourists.

The dance comes from West Sumatra, precisely in Solok. At first, dance of plates performed by women and men to bring it to the gods as a form of gratitude for the harvest that gives very satisfactory results. They danced very lively while holding the plates in the palm of their hands.

14. Cokek Dance

Cokek dance is one of the classical dances of Betawi people in Jakarta. This dance is a social dance of Betawi people to enliven their traditional party. Cokek dance is a blend of elements of Chinese traditional dance, sunda, Betawi and also pencak silat. The movements in this Cokek dance is a harmonious and flexible, with graceful hand movements and hip swayed in rhythm. In addition, the dancers occasionally also play the shawl so that make the dancer looks elegant and fascinating.

In its development, Cokek Dance started rarely in performances at various events as it used to be. But this dance can still be found in big events such as Jakarta capital’s birthday party and cultural festival. Along with its development, Cokek Dance has been modified to make it look interesting. Many creations are added especially in the movement and clothing that is in use, but did not leave the original grip.

15. Reog Dance

Reog is one of the arts that originated from the northwest part of East Java and Ponorogo. Ponorogo is called as the real home town of Reog art because at the gates of Ponorogo city is decorated with two figures of this art. The two figures are Warok and Gemblak. This art is still very strong with mysticism and strong psychotherapy.

The official version of the Reog Ponorogo storyline is now a story about King Ponorogo who intends to apply for the daughter of Kediri, Dewi Ragil Kuning, but in the middle of the journey he is intercepted by King Singabarong of Kediri. King Singabarong’s troops consisted of peacocks and lions, while from the Ponorogo Kingdom of King Kelono and Vice-Bujang Anom, protected by warok (black dressed man in the dance), and this warok had deadly black magic.

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The reog covers all of our discussion about 15 Indonesian Folk Dance. Now, which one is your favorite? I’m sure it’ll be a beautiful one. But, whatever you choose, these dances is a proof that Indonesia is indeed a great country with thousand of cultures. So we must not just stand here watching them, we should keep them, learn, and remember them as our treasure. With that way, we’ll be the most wonderful country in the world. Okay that’s it, have a good day !