10 Most Popular Central Javanese Dances You Should Know!

Central Javanese Dance – Indonesia is known for its diverse culture due to its vast territory stretching from Sabang to Merauke. There are so many cultures that we can meet in every region in our beloved country Indonesia, one of the interesting cultures to discuss is dance culture.

Even though in the current era of globalization, cultural preservation must still be carried out while still knowing and participating in studying the culture of the country itself, including studying traditional dance.

Traditional dance is usually an image of a certain area that developed a long time ago and is still being preserved today through cultural centers, although many young people now prefer modern dance.

In some areas in Indonesia, such as Central Java, it is very rich in tradition and traditional dance is one of the traditions from Central Java that still exists today.

Traditional dances still exist today because they are still featured in several cultural events and several traditional ceremonies which have made them well known even in the modern era like today.

For this reason, so that Sinaumed’s friends are more familiar with the traditional dance culture, especially in this discussion, dance originating from Central Java, we have summarized various information related to traditional dances originating from Central Java, which you can find out as additional insight into local culture in Indonesia.

You can see further discussion about dance from Central Java below!

Definition of Dance

Before knowing some of the dances from Central Javanese culture, it’s a good idea to listen to the following discussion about the meaning of the dance itself!

Dance art in Indonesia is very rich. The diversity of dance arts from Sabang to Merauke is the identity of each region that must be preserved for future generations.

Various traditional and modern dances are often performed at certain events such as traditional wedding ceremonies, welcoming ceremonies for honored guests, etc. This dance can be performed alone, in pairs, in groups, or in large numbers.

Dance is an expression of the human soul through rhythmic and aesthetic movements. Apart from art, dance is also part of culture in its development.

Dance is an art whose medium is expressed in the form of motion. According to a quote on the official website of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, dance is an art form that has a means of expression or substance of movement through human movement.

According to KBBI or the Big Indonesian Dictionary, dance is an art form that involves rhythmic body movements (hands and others) and is usually accompanied by sound (music, gamelan, etc.).

Dance is art, even though its basic substance is motion. However, it is not about realistic or everyday movements, but rather movements in the form of expressive movements.

Expressive movements are beautiful movements and can affect one’s emotions. The beauty of this movement is that it has a style that contains a certain rhythm.

The use of the word beautiful in the world of art has a good meaning. John Joseph Martin explained with Modern Dance (1965) that beautiful or good is something that gives one’s inner satisfaction. Good dance is not only limited to smooth and soft movements, hard, rough, powerful, strange and tense movements can also be classified as dances with good movements.

Dance is defined by experts

There are several definitions used to explain what dance is. A German dance and music historian named Curt Sachs explains in the book World History of The Dance (1933) that dance is rhythmic motion. So the elements of dance are motion and rhythm or beats.

A different opinion was expressed by dance expert from the Netherlands Hendrina Cornelia Hartong (Corrie Hartong), who explained that dance is a body shape and rhythmic movement in space. At the same time, the American writer Walter Sorell defined dance as rhythmically regular movements of the body and its limbs.

The definition of dance above is still consistent with Frederick Hawkins (Erik Hawkins) who works as an American modern dance dancer and choreographer. He stated that dance is an expression of the human soul, transformed by imagination and shaped by movement in such a way that it becomes a symbolic movement and expresses the contents of its creator.

Then, according to Suryodiningrat, an expert on Javanese dance, dance is the movement of all parts of the human body arranged in harmony with music that has a specific purpose. Meanwhile, according to Soedarsono, dance is a manifestation of the human soul through beautiful rhythms.

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Definition of traditional dance

Experts present their own definition of traditional dance. Alwi said that traditional art is art created by many people, containing elements of beauty, the results of which are shared property.

According to Sekarningsih and Rohayan in the book Advanced Study of Dance and Drama Learning (2006), dance is a dance that has experienced a journey and has past values ​​that have been preserved for generations and has a connection with rituals or customs.

According to Robby Hidayat in the book Art of Dance Insights (2005), traditional dance is a dance that is performed in a certain ethnic environment or tradition which is inherited depending on the procedures used.

From this it can be concluded that the concept of traditional dance is a dance that develops from time to time and exists in a certain area, custom or tribe for some time. These developments make traditional dance have a classical aesthetic value that is maintained from generation to generation.

Dance from Central Java

Central Java is one of the areas in Indonesian culture that is rich in traditions and customs.

Speaking of Java, the cultural center is actually in Central Java. However, their Javanese dance culture and traditions spread to all provinces in Indonesia.

Even mothers can easily see the different Javanese cultural dances at every gathering, wedding or big party.

The following are various types of traditional Central Javanese dances that you need to know more about and educate young Indonesians.

1. Gambyong Dance

The first traditional Central Javanese dance is the Gambyong dance. Initially became popular from Surakarta.

Many people do not know that this traditional dance from Central Java is a folk dance.

The Gambyong dance is usually performed during the planting season and rice harvest as a tribute to Dewi Sri. This traditional dance is usually performed by two young women wearing green dresses.

This attire is combined with trousers with a tie, a long yellow scarf wrapped around the waist and a headdress.

The dancers are accompanied by songs typical of Javanese culture performed by sinden (singers) and gamelan songs (traditional Javanese musical instruments).

The movements of this traditional Central Javanese dance are quite clever and skilled in blending in with the audience on stage.

2. Golek Dance

Another traditional dance from Central Java is the Golek dance. This is a type of dance that is stored in the palace and displayed at certain cultural events.

A solo dance depicting a young girl growing into a mature woman. The basic postures and techniques are reminiscent of the dances of Bedhaya and Serimpi, but the descriptive movements reveal the beauty of the girl herself.

The name Golek is related to Wayang Golek, and this tradition has parallels in the history of Wayang Golek. The Golek dance is traditionally performed at lively wedding receptions.

3. Bedhaya dance

As an education for today’s children, the Bedhaya dance is no less interesting to know. Bedhaya has a deep religious meaning for both performers and spectators.

Aesthetic principles are associated with ideas of beauty and unspeakable power, and the Bedhaya dance is considered a form of yoga or meditation. Bedhaya dance is a classical dance from the Surakarta palace.

This sacred dance presents the romantic relationship between the Queen of the South and the King of Mataram which is manifested in the movements of the hands and all the limbs.

The outfit includes a tie sarong, velvet blouse and gold scarf. This dance is accompanied by gamelan musical instruments.

4. Serimpi Dance

Serimpi dance, this regional dance is said to be almost similar to the traditional Central Javanese Bedhaya dance. This can be seen in the dance techniques, costumes and dances of the women.

Usually this dance is performed at the Central Java Palace during cultural events and holiday celebrations. The dancers may represent the four elements of the universe earth, water, fire and air, as well as the four cardinal points of the universe.

The Javanese Serimpi dance is similar to the Pakarena Makassar dance in terms of the smoothness of the dancer’s movements. Since ancient times, the serimpi dance has had a special place in the Javanese courts because of its sacred nature.

Previously, this dance could only be performed by people chosen by the palace. Serimpi dance is considered sacred, as are heirlooms or objects symbolizing the power of kings from the Hindu-Javanese era. However, the Serimpi dance is not as sacred as the Bedhaya dance.

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The story shows the fight between four heroines with daggers. Not infrequently this traditional Central Javanese dance smells mystical and is quite sacred.

The uniqueness of this Serimpi dance is the use of a weapon feature wearing a white sarong robe, symbolizing the dancer’s purity and sincerity.

This dance also symbolizes tenderness that can be seen in the movements and accompaniment.

5. Bondan Dance

Bondan dance is a traditional Central Javanese dance originating from Surakarta, Central Java. This dance symbolizes a mother who takes care of her child.

It’s about a child and a woman holding a doll and an open umbrella gently dancing on a jar and not being kicked or hurt.

This dance is divided into three, namely Cindogo Mariah, Mariah Mardisiwi and Mariah Gunung.

The hallmark of this dance is the clothes of village girls, baskets, hats and farming tools.

6. Beksan Wireng Dance

Want to introduce young Indonesians to Javanese culture through a dance? Beksan Wireng dance is one of them.

In fact, this dance is said to have existed since the 12th century. This traditional Central Javanese dance originates from the Javanese palace which is preserved in the Surakarta Sunanate and Mangkunegaran Temple. Dancing is about fighting. Beksan Wireng was made when Amiluhur was king.

Amiluhur wanted everyone to be able to fight to defend his kingdom, so this dance was created.

To honor and perpetuate it, many Central Javanese dancers try to perform dances like this Beksan Wireng.

7. Gambir Anom Dance

Gambir Anom is a traditional Central Javanese dance which is popular in Surakarta. As a rule, a man or a woman is served.

The Gambir Anom dance features Irawan, Arjuna’s son who is in love. A character in love expresses himself through neat clothes, hair, makeup, and clothing.

There was a mirror movement, pacing back and forth, as if her idol was standing in front of her.

8. Dolalak Dance

Another traditional Central Javanese dance for children’s education is the Dolalak dance. Dolalak is a cultural product that was born and developed in Purworejo Regency, Central Java.

This actually existed during the Dutch colonial period in Indonesia around 1915. The Dolalak dance is performed by several dancers dressed in old Dutch or French soldiers. This performance is accompanied by kentrung, tambourine, drums and kecer.

This can be seen in the costumes and accessories that are similar to the Dutch soldiers.

The costume of the Dolalak dancers includes long-sleeved shoulder badges, shorts, hats and socks, as well as sunglasses and sampur.

9. Lengger Dance

Lengger dance is one of the ancient traditional rituals of Central Java. As a symbol of fertility, male dancers dress like women. When the Lengger dance became popular, men were considered stronger and purer than women.

At that time, dance practice was more of a ritual event than a means of entertainment. It still smells spiritual and connected to the gods.

In this form of traditional Central Javanese dance, the dancers sing together while dancing. Most court dances are traditionally associated with the sultan, and many rulers themselves are known as skilled dancers.

The players are mostly close relatives of the sultan or members of the palace and personal bodyguards.

Here is information about various types of Central Javanese dance, Sinaumed’s friends. Central Javanese traditional dance has a very strong character, therefore Central Javanese dancers usually have a very high social status.

As young people and part of the successors of the Indonesian nation, we should also help continue the culture that is developing in Indonesia by appreciating the culture in the area around us, such as the traditional dances in Central Java.

Because these traditional dances are also part of the cultural heritage of our predecessors which should be preserved, preserved and introduced to the world.


This is a brief discussion of traditional dances from the Central Java region. The discussion this time does not only discuss traditional dances from the Central Java region, but also discusses further the meaning of the dance itself, the meaning of traditional dance, as well as examples of traditional dances from the Central Java region that you can see well.

Trying to recognize a part of the culture in Indonesia, including traditional dances from the Central Java region, gives us additional knowledge about various cultures that have developed in Indonesia from the past to the present which must always be preserved and taught from generation to generation as part of the cultural heritage that needs to be maintained. .