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The Everlasting Tradition of Gandrung Dance from Banyuwangi

The Everlasting Tradition of Gandrung Dance from Banyuwangi

You may have ever heard some cultural ceremonies and traditions that come from Banyuwangi. Among them, does Gandrung Dance ring a bell to you? Yes, this dance is the part of traditional arts from Banyuwangi and it’s still performed until now as the proof how the people in Banyuwangi respect their traditions and cultures so highly. The dance itself is quite unique by considering its history and also how it is performed now. Well, let’s get to know even further about Gandrung Dance.

The History of Gandrung Dance

The name of the dance actually comes from Javanese Language. “Gandrung” can be translated into love or charm. Gandrung dance is done by the people in Banyuwangi as the representation of how they are charmed by Goddess Sri. According to the native in Banyuwangi, Goddess Sri has the duty to deal with bringing prosperity to the people. And since most people in Banyuwangi in the past time were farmers who work in agriculture world, they really believe that they need to respect the goddess so they can have good harvest. Normally, this dance is held after harvesting season especially if the farmers have abundant harvest. In addition to show the respect, this dance is also done to show gratitude to the goddess.

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How the Dance Is Performed

When we’re talking about how Gandrung Dance is performed, we need to trace back to how it was done during Majapahit era. For your information, Majapahit is the name of a big Kingdom in ancient Javanese period and Blambangan (now is known as Banyuwangi) is the part of that kingdom. During Majapahit era, there was a dance often done in the castle and the dancer is called “Juru Angin” (translated into “The Master of Wind” or “Wind Bender”). The character of Juru Angin is done by a woman who dances and sings at the same time in appealing ways. Right behind Juru Angin, there’s an old man called “Buyut” who plays role as the “Punokawan” (guard and jester) for Juru Angin.

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This kind of dancing is believed to be the prototype for Gandrung Dance as what we know today. If you see Gandrung Dance being performed today, you can see how the dancers are followed by some men playing kluncing (a kind of traditional music instrument). In the middle of the dance, those men often make some jokes related to the dance.

Gandrung Dance Nowadays

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It’s quite awesome to know how the dance still survives until now by considering it comes from ancient period. Many people still actively do the dance. Even though it’s not as intense as it used to be, it’s not that hard to witness Gandrung Dance being performed especially if you visit the villages in Banyuwangi. There are also some adjustments done to the dance. If in the past it was done to celebrate the abundant harvest,The Dance can be performed anytime now. In fact, it’s also used as the part of tourist attraction in Banyuwangi. However, if you want to see the dance, you have to check the dance performance schedule

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