Jaran Kepang, A Javanese Traditional Horse Dance

Kuda Lumping / Jaran Kepang

Jaran Kepang

Jaran Kepang or Kuda Lumping is literally s flat horse which made by flat bamboo woven. Jaran Kepang is a traditional Javanese dance depicting a group of horsemen. The dancers “ride” horses made from woven bamboo and decorated with colorful paints and traditional cloth.

Generally, the dance portrays troops riding horses, but another type of Kuda Lumping performance also incorporates trances and magic tricks. When the “possessed” dancer is performing the dance in trance conditions, he can display unusual abilities, such as eating glass and resistance to the effects of whipping or hot coals. Although the dance is native to Java, Indonesia, it also performed by Javanese immigrants in Suriname, Malaysia and Singapore.

Kuda Lumping may be performed in celebration of a special event, such as a boy’s circumcision or rite of passage. It may also be performed as entertainment, in a busker style. It is generally performed in a cordoned-off area, with the audience separated from the dancers.

Dancers perform using rattan horses, generally colourful and decorated with beads and sequins. Adults use larger horses than children. Children’s horses may also be cut from bamboo mats. Performers wear colorful clothes and may occasionally dress as soldiers. The costume may also include small bells strung around the ankle. In comparison to the shaman, the dancers’ costumes are more feminine.

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