Reog Ponorogo, The Traditional Dance from East Java

Reog is one of the cultural arts from Eastern Java. The city gate was decorated by the figure of Ponorogo Warok and Gemblak, two figures who have appeared when Reog is performed. Reog is one of local cultures in Indonesia which still believes in the mystical. There are five versions of the popular story that have developed in the community about the origins of Reog and Warok. But one of the most famous stories is the story of Ki Ageng Kutu rebellion, a royal servant during Bhre Kertabumi, the last king of Majapahit who ruled in the 15th century. Ki Ageng Kutu was angry because of strong influence from party colleagues in the govenment and king’s corrupt behavior. He also saw the trend that the power of Majapahit Kingdom would end. He then left the King and founded the institutuon where he taught young children with martial arts, self-immunity, and the science of perfection in the hope that these young children would be the seeds of revival in Majapahit Kingdom. Realizing that his forces were too small to fight the royal troops. Ki Ageng Kutu’s political mesage was conveyed throught the performing of Reog arts, which is a “hint” to Bhre Kertabumi King and his kingdom. Reog performanes became a way of King Ageng Kutu in building local resistance by using Reog popularity.

In Reog show, a mask with lion shaped head known as “Singa Barong” is displayed. Singa Barong, the king of the jungle, became a symbol for Kertabumi. Above it peacock feathers are plugged in to resemble a giant fan that symbolize, the powerful influence of his Chinese colleagues who manage the over all movement. Jatilan played by a group of gemblak dancers, riding horse became a symbol of the power of the Majapahit Empire troops. It is contract with Warok in term of power, ratio, which is under the red clown mask that has become a symbol for King Ageng Kutu, alone and sustain the weight of Singa Barong mask that reaches more than 50 kg using only his teeth. Because of Reog popularity, Kertabumi take action and attact Ki Ageng’s institution.

A revolt by Warok was quickly resolved and the institution was forbidden to continue teaching. But the students of Ki Ageng Kutu continued it secretly. However, arts of Reog is still allowedto be staged because the show has become popular among the public, but the story has been added with the characters from folklore such as Kelono Sewondono, the Dewi Songgolangit, and Sri Genthayu. Official version of the reog ponorogo storyline now is the story of the King Ponorogo, who intend applying for Kediri princess. Dewi Ragil Kuning, but amid the journey he was intercepted y king Singabarong from Kediri. King Singabarong forces consist of peacocks and lions, while Kingdom of King Ponorogo and his Deputy Kelono Bujanganom are escorted by Warok (men dressed in black in the dance) and this Warok has deadly black magic. The whole fights between them and the dancers are in a state of trance during the dance stage. Modern Reog is usually performed in several events such as weddings, circumcisions and National holidays. Reog Ponorogo arts consists of several series of two to three opening dances.


The first dance is usually performed by 6-8 brave men with all black clothes, with faces painted in red. The dancers depict the figure of courageous lions. Next is a dance which was performed by 6-8 girls who ride horses. In traditional reog, dancers are usually palyed by male dancers who dress as women. This dance is called Jaran Kepang dance, which should be distinguished from other : Kuda lumping dance. reog pnorogo

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