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Friday, June 17, 2011

The Sacred Dance of Bedhaya Ketawang

Once a year at the Kings Palace of Solo performed a sacred ritual dance Bedhaya Ketawang to commemorate ascension of the sultan (Susuhunan). This dance is performed by nine female dancers who depict love of the the southern sea queen Nyi Roro Kidul to either Sultan Agung or his grandfather, Senopati.

Dance performances conducted in pendhapa, an open hall with pillars in the front of Susuhunan which sat at the throne. The dance accompanied by a chorus of women and men (sindhenan lampah sekar). Musical accompaniment is not a complete gamelan orchestra but only few instruments: kethuk, kenong, gongs and kendang only.


Many taboos surrounding this dance. Rehearsals should only be done once every 35 days, in every rehearsal and performance offerings must be made. Dancers must perform fasting and ritual purification, their must wear bridal dress and their upper body lathered with mangir (yelowish lotion made by rice and temugiring).

This dance style depict subtle eroticism of Javanese, all the dancers looked down not looking to the audience. The simplicity of the music, gentle and slow movement of the dancers and the offerings creates eery goosebumpish beauty.

Source: wikipedia
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