I Watch Indonesian Traditional Dance, Mask Ireng and Waru Dance

Hi everybody. How are you? I hope you are all right. I want to share my experience watching typical Indonesian art. You know, if Indonesia has a lot of art and culture. Last month, I told a story that I visited Krecek Hamlet, Temanggung, Central Java. In the nyadran agenda, I stayed one day to witness several cultures being preserved by the two hamlets to build peace.

In this agenda, Gletuk Hamlet (Krecek's neighboring hamlet) held an art performance. 3 typical Temanggung dances are held from evening to night. Just me, I watched from evening to night. The culture displayed is in the form of traditional dances, namely the Topeng Ireng dance and the Waru dance.

I was amazed by the two dances. From the stories, I tell the residents, the Topeng Ireng dance is a dance by a group of soldiers who are camouflaged against the Dutch. You also know that Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch for quite a long time. The dancers who dance the Topeng Ireng dance are very energetic.

Their feet and hands were in pairs of little bells, they wore boots. Their faces wear makeup with black streaks that give the impression of confidence. Do not forget that there are traditional musical instruments that accompany this dance. The accompanying songs use Javanese songs. Sometimes songs with Islamic nuances. The dancers who dance this dance are no more than 20 people

They pull very energetically. But, this dance scares me. The eyes of the dancers look empty. As if there is another creature that is in their soul. When the Topeng Ireng Dance was performed by female dancers, some of them fell into a trance. Since the beginning of this dance, I have felt something strange.

This dance is performed for a duration of 30 minutes to 1 hour. With a very heavy burden to carry. I feel they are tired. And that causes other creatures to easily enter our bodies. There are other interesting things about this dance. In some places, there are several offerings for the ancestors. The thing that amazed me was that this dance developed in hamlets with an Islamic background. This is very beautiful.


Picture by Nurdiani Latifah


Picture by Nurdiani Latifah


Picture by Nurdiani Latifah


Picture by Nurdiani Latifah

About Author

Nurdiani Latifah

My name is Nurdiani Latifah. I currently live in Jakarta – Indonesia, and after 25 years I live in Bandung. I am a media staff at an NGO in Indonesia. I have worked in this institution for almost 2 years on women and peace issues. I had been a journalist in Bandung for 3 years.

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I like their costumes. Every time I read this kind of content, I am happy because I learn about another culture. ☺️
Thanks for sharing. ☺️

I have never seen such a traditional dance first hand and of course this is a very interesting thing to see

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