In love with the Javanese Dance

 

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I am simply in love with Javanese dance. I’ve been practice dancing since 2003. I had to take few years off while I was working outside Jakarta. But when I came back, I continue my routine practice Javanese dance once a week. Recently we had a great performance. It was was very exciting for me after a few years break. And what made me more happy was that all my good friends are watching the show 🙂

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And here is the review from the Jakarta Post on our last performance.

 

Lelangen Beksan focus on grace and beauty

Novia D. Rulistia, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Culture | Mon, May 27 2013, 12:45 PM

Nine women clad in white and red chinoiserie wowed the audience as they performed the Kumolobumi to close the Lelangen Beksan, a Javanese dance show recently staged at the Taman Ismail Marzuki in Cikini, Central Jakarta.

In about 25 minutes, the women successful interpreted the traditional dance with grace and agility.

Unlike other Javanese dances, the Kumolobumi featured several Chinese elements, ranging from hairstyles and attire to red paper hand fans, music and hand movements.

The chinoiserie was designed to support the story of the dance itself, which had a Chinese character.

Kumolobumi, created by Rury Nostalgia, tells the tale of the struggle between two warrior princesses, Adaninggar from China and Kelaswarara, the princess of Prabu Kelanjati from the Kelan kingdom.

In the story, Adaninggar comes to Puser Bumi to serve Jayengrana, while Kelaswara comes to the kingdom to seek vengeance from Jayengrana for her father’s death.

Battle is inevitable, as the princesses are involved in a fight to defend their principles. The dance included distinct fighting movements that evoked a silat (martial arts) film.

The dance also surprised the audience when in the middle of the show, the gamelan players and their accompanying sinden singers suddenly stopped performing, leaving the dancers to show their ability to sing in Javanese.

Kumolobumi was not the only Javanese dance that entertained the audience at the Teater Kecil.

Highlighting beauty and gracefulness, Lelangen Beksan, organized by the Padnecwara Javanese dance troupe, also presented four other performances: the Sekarputri, Sukoretno, Retna Pamudya and Sancaya Kusumawicitra.  

In Javanese, Lelangen is derived from the word langen, which means beauty, while beksan is a high Javanese word for njoget (dancing).

In Sekarputri, creator Retno Maruti portrayed women as characters who were soft, graceful, but also lively. The dance was arranged from two Javanese classic pieces, Gambyong and Sukoretno, and was performed by six women.

The second dance was the Sukoretno, performed by eight dancers.

Sukoretno, created by the late Kusumakesawa, tells the tale of a young girl just becoming a woman as is told through slow and graceful movements.  It is also a dance used to develop discipline among the performers at the keraton (palaces) of Java, and, while it was smoothly, that Sukoretno performed was also dynamic.

In the third performance, the Retna Pamudya, six dancers portrayed a picture of a strong, elegant Javanese goddess.

Kusumakesawa originally devised the dance in the 1950s for a lone performer. The Retna Pamudya was the first solo dance influenced by the dancing style of Surakarta, Central Java, that was developed outside the area.

Retna Pamudya tells the story of Dewi Srikandhi and her fight against Resi Bhisma in Bharatayudha. The dancers were equipped with bows and arrows to support the character of a fighting goddess.

The fourth dance in the Lelangen Beksan series, the Sancaya Kusumawicitra, was the highlight of the show. The dance was performed by two male dancers and told the story of the battle between Prabu Sancaya from the Nusarukmi kingdom and Prabu Kusumawicitra of the Memenang kingdom. Both characters are taken from the Wayang Madya puppet story.

The kings had opposite characters: Prabu Sancaya was pictured with stout movements, while Kusumawicitra was more elegant.

Although it performed by men, the dance was still very much relevant to the main theme of beauty and gracefulness. The dancers of Kusumawicitra succeeded in bringing elegance to the dance without putting aside his heroic side.

Costumes of bright pinks, greens and red complete with gold ornaments enriched the performances, which were staged simply against a black background.

Retno, who is the founder of Padnecwara, said that the Lelangen Beksan was organized to preserve Javanese dance and as a place where members of Padnecwara could show off their talent after regular training in class.

“The dancers who were involved in the show are a combination of those who have maturity in their movements, feelings and rhythm and those who still need to further improve their potential,” Retno said.

Lelangen Beksan was staged for the first time at the Teater Luwes at the Jakarta Art Institute (IKJ) in 2008 and then at Teater Salihara in 2009.

“I expect it to be an annual show, so we can keep producing new talent and preserve the culture at the same time,” Retno said.

— Photos by JP/Wendra Ajistyatama

Direct link: Lelangen Beksan Focuse on grace and beauty

 

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