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Topeng Ireng Folk Dance

Topeng Ireng ( Foto @magelangimage )
Talking about What Topeng Ireng Is - Topeng ireng. What does it mean? Is it the mask with the colour black? or Can it be said as Black Mask?

Topeng ireng is not a mask with the colour black  and also it cannot be said in English with Black Mask. Topeng ireng is traditional perform that has assimilation with the local culture in Central Java. Nowadays,  the dance of Topeng Ireng change to be Dayakan. Actually, this dance is a metamorphosis of Kubro Siswo.

The topeng ireng dance is very easy to learn. There is no difficult motion. The dance is very simple. Why can it happen? It can be happened because the focus of this dance is on cohesion. It is a collaboration between spreading of Islam and martial arts – Pencak silat

According the story from the people, Topeng Ireng introduced first time by the people on Merapi Merbabu slope since Dutch colonization until 1960. As we know that when the Dutch colonized Indonesia, everything related  with heroism was forbidden. For example pencak silat. Because the Dutch forbidden pencak silat, so the people thought how could they practiced pencak silat but the Dutch did not know that they practiced it. So they camouflaged pencak silat became folk dance.

The folk dance played with traditional music instrument and Javanese song. The song’s moral value was about the advise of goodness living and spreading the Islam. At that time, Topeng ireng performed when the moslems built mosque. It played before the dome placed on the common part. The dome paraded around the village following all the villagers. On parade there were some performing art like rebana, folk dance and topeng ireng that camouflaged as folk dance also performed at that moment.

Name topeng ireng comes from the Javanese. Topeng ireng is abbreviation of Toto Lempeng Irama Kenceng. What does it mean?

Toto means arranging,  Lempeng means straight, Irama means tone and Kenceng means hard. That is why in perfoming topeng ireng the dancers stand in line up and accompany with music with hard tone and vigorously. The dance is a manifestation of traditional art with Islamic lyric and pencak silat.

Besides as syiar, performing topeng ireng describe about the living on the slope of Merapi Merbabu village. The motion of the dance shows the power strength of the villagers.

How about Dayakan? Dayakan and topeng ireng is same. Dayakan is the original name of topeng ireng. How could it calls as dayakan? Named dayakan is based on the clothes wearing all the dancers. The bottom parts are like the traditional clothes of Dayak tribes. On 1995, some people judge that the named dayakan contain SARA. That reason makes the name dayakan change to be topeng ireng. Since 2005, name dayakan is popular with dayakan again so this performing art has two names dayakan and topeng ireng.

What makes the Topeng Ireng interesting?
The most interesting thing from topeng ireng is on the clothes of the dancers. The colorful the fur decoration likes crown decorate each dancers. As same as the crown, the decoration of their face is also interesting. On both of their foot, beside wear a boots there are many rattles make the sound attract everyone wants to watch the dancers performing on each motions.

In every performance, topeng ireng will be accompanied with much sound and voice. The sound comes from stomping foot and the voice if the dancers. The gamelan using in performing likes drum, terbang, bende, flute and tambourine. The dancers usually consist of 10 dancers. But it can be more. In performing the dancers make some formation. It also makes topeng ireng so interesting

The choreography is not monotone. The choreographers always make the innovations in every performing. It makes the spectators is not bored. It also makes the youth interesting to learn and to be topeng ireng’s dancers.

Topeng ireng has two kinds of dance. It is called Rodat and Monolan. What does their means? Rodat means two Syahadat (confession of faith).  In this part perform the simple pecak silat motion and the Islamics lyrics. The other is Monolan. In monolan the dancers wearing the animal clothes. This dance implicate the mystics unsure.

Moral Values of Topeng Ireng
There are many moral values in Topeng Ireng dance
  • As a media to entertain the people and omit the saturation from the daily activities.  
  • Solidarity media. Using topeng ireng can increase the solidarity each dancers 
  • Social media interaction.
Each lyrics contain the religious value. In the past, the Sunan taught Islam used traditional art.

The moral values stated that in the world the human cannot life alone. Person needs others. Help each others and also teach us how to be organized.

Hubungi Kami


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