Home Indonesian Culture Reog Ponorogo, The Mystical Traditional Dance Art From Indonesia

Reog Ponorogo, The Mystical Traditional Dance Art From Indonesia

Reog Ponorogo is one of Indonesia’s cultural heritages originating from the region in East Java, Reog Ponorogo is one of the traditional arts in the form of dance which until now is still being preserved and performed by the local community. As an area that is well-known as the hometown of Reog Ponorogo, the city of Ponorogo has a gate that is decorated with the two figures who usually appear in Reog performances, namely the figures of Warok and Gemblak. Reog Ponorogo is one of the proofs of native cultural art in Indonesia that is still very rich with mystical and strong psychology.

1. Origin and History

The history of Reog Ponorogo begins in the 1920s. The traditional dance of Reog ponorogo tells the historical event that reflects the Ki Ageng Kutu rebellion which was a servant of the kingdom of Majapahit in the 15th century from ancient Indonesia. At the time the last King of Majapahit was married to a women with a chinesse decendant which bring a great downfall to the kingdom, Ki Ageng Kutu acted againts the king to restore the great name of Majapahit and challenge the king’s army with his own. His army was known with mystical power of immunity, the martial arts of young people, and the science of perfection in life. 

2. Characteristic

The characteristic of Reog Ponorogo was a reflection of Ki Angeng Kutu reasons of his rebellion and his army. In the Reog performance, a mask with the shape of a lion’s head is commonly known as the “Barong lion”, king of the forest. At the top, the peacock feathers are planted to resemble a giant fan by symbolizing the strong influence of their Chinese counterparts and controlling all their movements. Just like how the King of Majapahit was controlled by his wife with a Chinese decendant.  

Reog players wear its lion head shaped masks with crowns made from peacock feathers, which can weigh up to 50-60 kilograms. The way to wear and carry the giant mask through the performance was not by hands but by teeth. That is why besides needing strong training and physical strength, it is also believed that the strength of carrying a burden by a Reog dancer is obtained from spiritual practice in the form of fasting and asceticism. 

Reog Dancers are categorized in four category, Jatil, the elegant horse-riding companion, Warok, who are dashing and knowledgeable, Klono Sewandono, a very powerful king, and Bujang Ganong, a witty and clever figure

3. Performance

In Reog Ponorogo performance there is no definite dance scenario and patents, usually Reog dancers perform based on the scenes they have learned with additional movements of swinging the Reog’s head, sometimes the Reog performance also includes the audience, Reog dancers sometimes interact with the audience, of course by always paying attention to their masterminds.
Satisfaction from the audience is a must in Reog performance, scene after scene is performed neatly by Reog dancers such as the Lion Barong scene which is a scene that is very liked by the audience.

4. International Influence

Reog Ponorogo have become one of Indonesia cultural art work that was known Internationally around the world. Reog have been perfomed not only in the area of Ponorogo and Indonesia but Reog Ponorogo art has indeed reached foreign countries. Many countries already know and recognize this art. Citizens of the world are amazed by Reog Ponorogo performances such as in Los Angeles (USA), London (England), Spain, Russia, Venezuela, Suriname, South Korea, the Philippines and many more.

As a great cultural art work that reflects Indonesia as a Country with amazing and unique cultural, Reog Ponorogo will make you want to learn more about Indonesian culture. Stay tune for more~