Category Archives: Dance

Saman Dance, one of the world cultural heritage from Indonesia

Saman dance is the dance from Gayo (Gayonese) Aceh, northern Sumatra island. Named Saman dance because it was created by a clerics named Sheikh Saman in XIV century AD from the highlands of Gayo. Saman dance is reflection of education, religion, manners, heroism, teamwork and togetherness.


Saman dance, from Aceh Source : id:Tari Saman Author : Fajriboy GNU Free Documentation License.
Saman dance, from Aceh
Source : id:Tari Saman
Author : Fajriboy
GNU Free Documentation License.


Saman dance uses two basic element movements, which are the applauses and a pat on the chest. In  Saman dance, after sometime the rhythm and movements  become faster and makes the Saman Dance more interesting.

Traditional clothing for Saman dance are shirt and trouser, hat-shaped rolls, and a scabbard (sarong) and they are colorful. Clothes have to slightly loose in order to dance freely.
And there is still sarong worn below the belly with variety kinds of belts.

Saman dance is not only popular in Indonesia but also overseas and  it is often played in foreign countries.

On November 24, 2011 UNESCO officially recognized Aceh’s traditional Saman Dance as an intangible element of world cultural heritage, which needs UNESCO’s urgent protection

The ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) named on Saman Dance as the best ASEAN cultural preservation effort at the 25th ASEANTA Awards for Excellence 2012 (Wikipedia).


Saman Dance – Gayonese Traditional Dance – Sumatra, Indonesia


Saman Dance by UNESCO

Cirebon Mask Dance (Tari Topeng Cirebon), West Java

The art of dance became one the richness cultur that is owned by Indonesia. Each region has a dance with its own uniqueness.

Mask Dance from Cirebon in West Java is a dance that is full of meaningful symbols which are expected to be understood by its audience. Symbols can be a value of leadership, love, or wisdom.


Mask DancerPublic domain
Mask Dancer
Public domain


Mask dance  was developed a lot in Cirebon in West Java. It became famous because of the expression of movements. The dancers covered their face with a mask when dancing, that is why it is called by the name Mask dance. This dance is usually performed by one or several beautiful dancers, the singers, and some men who play musical instruments.

Symbols and meaning of a Mask Dance performance are delivered through the mask colors, sum of masks, the number of gamelan players and naturally through the dance itself.

Mask Dance Movement which is played by the dancers in each performance is different, depending on the theme that will be displayed.

After some swirling movement the dancers cover the face with a cloth that contains the mask,  then put the mask on the face as a symbol that the show has begun.

A similar process is performed when the dancers change the mask with a red mask. Uniquely, along with the change of the mask, the music accompanying  will become loud. The loudest music is played when a red mask is worn by the dancers. These movements are a form of opening dance in the mask dance performances.


Cirebon Mask Dance


The one of mask dance maestro was Mimi Rasinah, an active dancer and teacher of studio art at The Mask Dance Mimi Rasinah located in the village Pekandangan, Indramayu . Since 2006 Mimi Rasinah was suffering from paralysis, but still excited to performe, dancing and teaching mask dance until the end of her life. Mimi Rasinah died in August 2010 at the age of 80 years.


Mask Dance Maestrothe GNU Free Documentation License ,
Mask Dance Maestro
the GNU Free Documentation License


Rasinah Topeng Cirebon (Cirebon Mask) Documentary


Location of Cirebon, West Java

Lihat Peta Lebih Besar

Various Mask Dance information can be found at wikipedia


“Legong Dance”, one of the amazing traditional dances from the island of Bali Indonesia.

Cultural and creative arts in Bali are extremely diverse, one of them is the art of dance and from various dances that exist in Bali,  Legong dance is one of the dances that are worth to be watched. This dance is a Balinese cultural heritage that has undergone many developments.

Legong Dance in Bali culture is included in the type of classical dance, which at the beginning of its development originated from the royal palace in Bali. The dance was once only enjoyed by the noble families in their neighborhood in the palace as a dance entertainment. The dancers who have been asked to dance in front of the king will certainly feel a great pleasure, because not everyone is allowed to enter the palace.


Bali Legong Dance
Source : The work itself
Maker : Yves Picq
GNU Free Documentation License


The use of “Legong” word in the dance is a combination of the word ‘leg’ and ‘gong’. The word of ‘leg’ means flexibility and dynamically as the depiction of the dance movement that is performed by female dancers and “gong” means gamelan Balinese gamelan [1] as a musical instrument that accompanies this dance.

Explanation about Legong Dance [2]


Balinese dancer
Source : Own work
Author : Yves Picq
GNU Free Documentation License


Awesome Legong Dance 


Balinese Dancers in Ubud Bali

Balinese Dancers Ubud Bali

References and further Information

  1. Balinese gamelan (Wikipedia)
  2. Legong Dance (Wikipedia)

Kuda Lumping, traditional dance (trance)

Kuda Lumping (Lumping horse) is a traditional art performances that uses the power of magic with the hobbyhorse form as a  main character, made of buffalo or cow leather that has been dried or made of woven bamboo (Java: plaited bamboo) which are given motif or decoration and made like a horse form. Kuda Lumping is as a hobbyhorse that is no more than a cutout of a horse drawing was given circular rope from the head to tail and later will be ridden by tying the rope on the dancers shoulder.


Kuda Lumping ( Lumping Horse) was performed on Malioboro street, Yogyakarta, during a festival.
Maker : Gunkarta Gunawan Kartapranata
GNU Free Documentation License .


The peak of Kuda Lumping show is when the dancers were drunk, would eat anything, including the dangerous and unusual eaten by humans (eg shard / broken glass and grass) and behave like animals (eg snakes and monkeys). Kuda Lumping Art is not just entertaining, but more than a show of skill magic power.

The art of Kuda Lumping is derived from Ponorogo region in East Java, Indonesia. This art then spread to several areas in Java, especially Banten where the magic tradition has grown. DEBUS art in Banten is clearly demonstrates skill in using the power of magic players therefore Kuda Lumping art scattered in areas where Debus art lives and become an integral part of the Banten art community. In the area of Banten, Kuda lumping often also called  Kuda Kepang (braid horse).

Kuda Lumping players ranged from 12 to 20 people, they are composed of :

The handler, that has magical powers, his function as a leader, director, and recited spells to make the the riders get drunk and make them behave like animals. A bundle of grass and shards of glass will be provided as a food for Kuda Lumping dancers.


Kuda lumping player eating glass
Places acrobatics and magical Kuda Lumping on page Jakarta History Museum. The main viewer takes glass lamp.
GNU Free Documentation License


The whip is used by the handler to direct the show, pretending to whip hobbyhorse, but directed into the empty space.

The show accompanied by traditional music and songs.



Cool Bali Fire Dance

Fire dance is a dance that uses fire as a part of the performances. Balinese fire dancer becomes entranced and are able to dance on hot coals without feeling pain.

Currently many fire dances performed at various events in different places in Bali as an entertainment for the beauty and uniqueness.


Fire Dance
Source : Angielski Wikipedia, original upload 17 April 2005 by Haloeffect
The GNU Free Documentation License


Various expertises that they showed to play with the fire. The most interesting to see is when the dancers put fuel (karosene) into their mouth and spitting it to the fire sticks that they use for the show so can make very large fire.



In Bali, the Fire Dance, regularly performed for tourists, have origins in ancient rituals. The Fire Dance originated in a trance ritual  dance whis is performed to ward off witches at the time of an epidemic.



Legend of scary creature from Bali called “LEAK”

LEAK was a human who practiced black magic and have cannibalistic behavior. Leak can fly to find a pregnant woman and suck the blood of newborn babies, to complete magical abilities.

There are three kinds of legendary LEAK, two females and one male. Great magic skills can be transformed into Rangda, queen of black magic. LEAK believed to haunt the cemetery, eat the corpse, have the power to transform themselves into animals, even they can change the form become a monkey with a gold or rat tooth, or they can transformed being bald giant with a very long tongue and large fangs.


English: Wooden mask representing the witch Rangda.
Source : Tropenmuseum
Author : Tropenmuseum
licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported




In Balinese mythology, LEAK is the wicked witch. Le means witches and ak means evil. LEAK can only be seen at night by the Shaman hunter LEAK.
In the afternoon their appeared as an ordinary human being, but at night they free themselves from their bodies and fly around. Their strong enemies are BARONG, a character in the mythology of Bali.

Barong is the king of the spirits, leader of a good host. Barong and Rangda represents the character of Good and Evil in Bali legend.



Some people say that LEAK magic only works on the island, therefore LEAK is only found in Bali.

If someone stabbed LEAK from the neck down to the head and when the head separated from his body, then LEAK can not be reunited with his body. If the head is separated at a specified time, then LEAK will be die.

Mask of LEAK with sharp teeth and long tongue is also sometimes used as a home decoration.

In the world of LEAK is known attractions that are very interesting, such as performing skills among followers of LEAK. They will demonstrate the ability of various levels, such as martial arts.
They are performing a war, air attraction and various other skills.

More about LEAK (Wikipedia)


Heavy mask from spiritual art “Reog Ponorogo”

Indonesia is rich in different cultures, but the lack of attention by the upper class society or government, culture in Indonesia will gradually disappear, because it will be eliminated by a foreign culture that came into Indonesia. Indonesian nation should really filter foreign culture that goes into Indonesia.

From the cultural diversity in Indonesia, one of them is Reog Ponorogo. Reog is one of Indonesian national culture that still exist and continue to be developed so that the culture can be preserved and as an invaluable heritage.


Reog dancers in Ponorogo, ca. 1920.
Source : Tropenmuseum
Author : Unknown


Reog is one of the cultural arts that originated from Eastern Java Indonesia that is still very strong with powerful mystical thing. Ponorogo as a city that is known by the origin of  Reog Ponorogo places have a variety of objects and tourist attraction. Of course the main attraction is Reog itself. However, as the Cultural Arts Reog hometown, it was not every day we can see the traditional art performances.


Reog Ponorogo Indonesia
Reog dancer, Ponorogo, East Java, Indonesia
Source : en.wp
Author : User:Chezumar
Lisensi Dokumentasi Bebas GNU


The art is well known in Indonesia and abroad. Each year the National Reog Festival held in conjunction with the anniversary of Ponorogo regency. Reog is also performed on the full moon night in the square “Paseban Ponorogo”.

In the show Reog displayed in the form of a lion’s head mask known as “Singa Barong” (Lion Barong), king of  forest, which became a symbol to describe the Powerful king , and above it is plugged in peacock feathers to resemble a giant fan which symbolizes the strong power and influence. Weight of mask can reach 50-60 kg. This heavy mask carried by the dancers with their teeth. The ability to bring this mask is obtained by heavy exercise, also believed to be obtained by spiritual practices like fasting and penance.

Malaysia claims Reog Ponorogo

Having failed to claim some cultures of  Indonesia, Malaysia tried to claim  Reog Ponorogo as their culture.
If art of  Wayang which they are claimed not be renamed, but about  Reog because there are names  Ponorogo district, the name was changed became Barongan Dance, though Reog actually is not a dragon form like Barongsai but a form of tigers and peacocks.


Barongan Dance Malaysia
Taken from the art sites Malaysia Ministry
Public Domain


Detailed information can be found at : REOG (Wikipedia)


The beauty of Pura Uluwatu, Bali

Pura Uluwatu is one of the famous temples in Bali. The main attraction for the tourists of this temple is a spectacular panorama which is a blend of both natural and religious attractions. As one of the mainstay tourist on the island of Bali, Uluwatu is located at the southern tip of Bali island and towards the Indian Ocean.


Uluwatu Temple Location, Bali, Indonesia


Uluwatu Temple Bali
Auteur : Arnaud Gaillard (Arnaud ()
Source : Photo de l’auteur


The temple stands firmly jutting into the sea on rocks with a height of about 97 meters from the sea surface. In front of the temple there is a small forest called “Alas Kekeran”, which serves as a purity temple buffer. On the waterfront, visitors can see the marine atmosphere that comfort the soul and mind. The temple, located on the rock has become one of the historical attractions because it dates back to 1489 BC, beginning with the arrival of a priest from East Java named Danghyang Dwijendra.

To be able to enter into the temple, visitors must wear a sarong and scarf that can be rented in that place to respect the religious life of the Balinese who are mostly Hindus and have a great respect for the place of their worship.

The best time to visit Uluwatu temple is in the evening, at sunset time, so they can watch the spectacular scenery. In addition visitors can also see one of the cultural attractions that pretty typical in Bali Island, namely the Kecak dance which is quite popular both domestic and abroad. This Balinese dance become one of leading cultural attractions.


Kecak Dencer before 1937
Source : Tropenmuseum


Kecak Dance in Ubud
Photographer : Saipal


Kecak dance being performed at Uluwatu, in Bali
GNU Free Documentation License (Wikipedia)


Kecak dance is performed by many of the male dancers, sitting in a circle and with a certain rhythm shouting and raised both their arms. The dancers that are sitting in a circle wear a plaid cloths around their waist. Besides the dancers, there are other dancers who portray the characters of Ramayana like Rama, Shinta, Ravana, Hanuman and Sugriva. Kecak dance songs are taken from the ritual dances sanghyang that is traditional dance. Dancers will be in an trance condition, communicating with God or the spirits of the ancestors and then convey the expectations of the spirits to the society.

Unlike other Balinese dance that uses the gamelan as a musical accompaniment, Kecak dance performances are only the art of combining sounds of the mouth or shouts like “cak cak ke cak cak ke”, so this dance called The Kecak dance. The Kecak dance can be found at several places in Bali, but at Uluwatu is the most interesting to watch, because the show performed at the sunset.



Next to Pura Uluwatu, there is the famous Uluwatu beach with the cool waves that makes Uluwatu beach become a haven for the Surfer.

Uluwatu beach is suitable to be used by sports fans of surfing and almost every year is held an international surfing competition. This activity also serves to facilitate promotion, especially to foreign tourists and many countries in the world to get to know more about Indonesia that is rich in cultures.



Around the temple complex there are a bunch of monkeys. The mischievous monkeys are generally prefer to take a wide variety of items carried by the visitors. Goods which often become the target are glasses, purse, wallet or anything that can be easily taken by them.


Uluwatu Monkey


Uluwatu monkey at the edge of the cliff




Bukit Peninsula - SouthWest, Bali
Bukit Peninsula – SouthWest, Bali
This file was published with the License CC by-sa 3.0 by Burmesedays

Paradise Birds from Eastern of Indonesia

Birds of Paradise that are typical of Papuan birds, Indonesian peoples call them by the name Cenderawasih, especially males, they have a beautiful hair like an angel coming down from heaven with a very beautiful fur.
Birds of Paradise are collection of bird species that are grouped in families Paradisaeidae derived from the word Paradise.

Birds that found only in eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and eastern Australia consists of 14 genus and about 43 species, 30 species of them can be found in Indonesia, 28 species of them living on the island of Papua. Indonesia is a country with the largest numbers of the Cenderawasih species.

The Birds of Paradise have a beautiful fur characteristics possessed by the male birds. Generally light-colored fur with a combination of several colors like black, brown, red, orange, yellow, white, blue, green and purple and the size of the birds are various.


Bird of Paradise


Bird of Paradise

The beauty of fur from male used to attract the opposite sex. To attract the attention of females that are willing are invited mating, the male bird will show off fur to make beautiful dances. While singing on the branches, swaying with different movements in different directions.
Sometimes even up hanging upside down rely on branches. However, each species of Cenderawasih would have their own dances.

Populations of birds of Cenderawasih in Papua are endangered. The road project workers and employers in the area of forest often hunted birds for sale, either because of low salaries or for other reasons they often slept in the woods to catch the birds. The price a dead bird of Cenderawasih can be up to millions of rupiah in foreign countries, much higher for those which are still alive.
There are 11 types of Cenderawasih that are still roam in 13 districts in Papua, but has not been recorded. One time the population of Cenderawasih in Papua would be extinct. The reason is, there is no proper maintenance and care, while the forests in Papua from year to year continues to be cleared (deforestation).

Bird of paradise (from Wikipedia) in Indonesia


Lesser Bird of paradise

Lesser Bird of Paradise by Roderick Eime.
en:Image:BOP 0004-i.jpg by en:User:Rodeime
GNU Free Documentation License


Brown Sicklebill ( Epimachus meyeri )

Epimachus meyeri Papua New Guinea male
Creator markaharper1, for Wikipedia
The Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.


Ribbon-tailed Astrapia

Ribbon-tailed Astrapia (Astrapia mayeri) juvenile (male)
Author : pomfoto
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic


Ribbon-tailed Astrapia mayeri with long tail, Papua New Guinea
Creator : markaharper1 for Wikipedia
Licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic


King Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Raja)

King Bird of paradise (Cicinnurus regius)
Creator Doug Janson
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


Red Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Merah)

Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra)
License GNU Free Documentation License (Wikipedia)


Female Red Bird of Paradise
Creator : Doug Janson
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


Paradisaea rubra
GNU Free Documentation License (Wikipedia)


 Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Raggiana)

Raggiana_Bird of Paradise
Author : markaharper1
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic


Raggiana Adult Male Bird of Paradise
Author : Photo by Brian McNab
This file is the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 General


 Greater Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Kuning-besar)

Greater Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea apoda)
Author : Andrea Lawardi
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic


Greater Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea apoda). Male at Bali Bird Park.
Author : Andrea Lawardi
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic


Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Mati-Kawat)

Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise (Seleucidis melanoleuca)
GNU Free Documentation License. (Wikipedia)


Paradise-crow (Cenderawasih Gagak)

Author : Richard Bowdler Sharpe for Wikipedia


Superb Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Kerah)

A male Superb Bird of Paradise in Papua New Guinea.
Author : markaharper1
Creative Commons Deroadenn-Kentanna 2,0 Hollek


Superb Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Kerah)

A male King of Saxony Bird of Paradise in Papua New Guinea.
Author : markaharper1
licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.


Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Botak)

Wilson’s Bird of Paradise
Author : Serhanoksay
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


Blue Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Biru)

Blue Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea rudolphi)
Author : Richard Bowdler Sharpe


The most famous birds of paradise, are the member of the genus Paradisaea, including species of large yellow of paradise, Paradisaea apoda. This species is described from specimens were taken to Europe from trading expeditions. The specimen was prepared by native traders by removing the wings and legs in order to be decorated. It is not known by the explorers and lead to the belief that these birds never landed but remain in the air because of feathers. This is the origin of the name bird of paradiseand apoda name which means no legs.

Birds of paradise without legs
Author : John Johnston


Communities in Papua often wear fur Bird of Paradise (Cenderawasih), in their dress and customs, and a few centuries ago, fur were important for making women’s hats in Europe. Hunting fur and habitat destruction causes a decrease in the number of Cenderawasih in a few species, endangered their species, also their habitats. Deforestation is still a major threat.


Paradisaea apoda (Cenderawasih Kuning-besar)
This image was copied from wikipedia: en. The original description was:
Birds Paradise ff (Greater Bird of Paradise, Wilson’s Bird of Paradise)
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic



Lihat Peta Lebih Besar

In both videos the music is played by gamelan-orchestras which is typical for Java.