Getting to Know the History and Philosophical Meaning of the Surakarta Bedhaya Ketawang Dance

History of Bedhaya Dance – In general, sinaumedia Friends can enjoy a variety of Indonesian
arts and dances at any time.
However, Central Java Province has a dance that cannot be
performed every time.
The dancers to the audience watching in its implementation are required
to follow the rules that have been set.
The dance is Bedhaya Ketawang from Surakarta.

Bedhaya Ketawang dance is a special dance that is considered sacred as a symbol of the greatness of the
king.
This dance is a traditional palace dance which is full of meaning and has a close
relationship with traditional ceremonies, religion, and the romance of the King of Mataram and Kanjeng Ratu
Kidul.

Are you curious about this dance? Please continue to refer to the following reviews to the
end!

Beksan Bedhaya Ketawang is a sacred dance or heirloom dance that is only performed during the coronation or
Lilinandalem Jumenengan ISKS Paku Buwana (commemoration of the king’s ascension). The
history of the Bedhaya Ketawang dance tells the story of Panembahan Senopati’s hermitage who met and
made love with Ratu Kencanasari or better known as Kanjeng Ratu Kidul who later became the forerunner of
the Bedhaya Ketawang dance.

Quoting an explanation in a book entitled Learning Dance in Indonesia and Abroad written by Arina Restian,
the name Bedhaya Ketawang itself comes from the word
bedhaya which means “female dancer in a
palace or palace”, while
ketawang means “sky” or “cloudy sky”. (identical with something
high, nobility, and glory).
The Bedhaya Ketawang dance is a sacred sacred dance because it
involves divinity: nothing will happen without the will of God Almighty.

Ketawang symbolizes something high, holy, and the abode of the gods. The dancers are
symbolized by the location of the scorpion star, which is seven to nine people wearing matching costumes.
According to belief, Kanjeng Ratu Kidul will attend and join the dance as the 10th dancer.

Then, what is the pattern for the Bedhaya Ketawang dance floor? Here’s an explanation.

History of Bedhaya Dance

There are several legends that reveal the formation of this dance. Once upon a time, Sultan
Agung Hanyakrakusuma, who ruled the Mataram Sultanate from 1613–1645 was doing a meditation ritual.
That said, in silence the king heard the sound of tembangan (humming) from the direction of Tawang
or the sky.
Sultan Agung was amazed by the hum.

As soon as the meditation was finished, Sultan Agung summoned four of his companions, namely Panembahan
Purbaya, Kyai Panjang Mas, Prince Karang Gayam II, and Tumenggung Alap-Alap.
Sultan Agung
expressed his inner testimony to them.
Sultan Agung himself then created a dance called
Bedhaya Ketawang because he was inspired by the supernatural experience he had.

According to another version, it is also said that Panembahan Senapati met and made love with Ratu Kencanasari or
also known as Kanjeng Ratu Kidul in her hermitage, which later became the forerunner of this dance.

After the Giyanti Agreement in 1755 Pakubuwana III and Hamengkubuwana I divided the inheritance of the Mataram
Sultanate, part of which belonged to the Surakarta Sunanate and the other part belonged to the Yogyakarta
Sultanate.

In the end, the Bedhaya Ketawang Dance became the property of the Surakarta Hadiningrat Kesunanan Palace.
Until now, in its development, the Bedhaya Ketawang Dance is still being performed during the
coronation and the commemoration of the ascension ceremony of Sunan Surakarta (SISKS Pakubuwana).

About Dance and Philosophical Meaning

The Bedhaya Ketawang dance is a dance of greatness which is only performed at the coronation and
commemoration of the king’s ascension in the Surakarta Sunanate.
This dance is a sacred dance
that is sacred to the people and the Surakarta Sunanate.

Historically, this dance originated when Sultan Agung ruled the Mataram sultanate in 1613–1645.
At one point, Sultan Agung was performing a meditation ritual and he heard humming from the sky,
Sultan Agung was amazed by the hum.
Then he summoned his bodyguards and told them what had
happened.
It was from this incident that Sultan Agung created a dance called bedhaya
ketawang . There is also another version which says that in his meditation Panembahan
Senapati met and made love with Ratu Kencanasari or Kanjeng Ratu Kidul who later became the forerunner
of this dance.

However, after the Giyanti agreement in 1755, the Mataram sultanate’s inheritance was divided between
Pakubuwana III and Hamengkubuwana I. In addition to the territorial division, the agreement also included a
distribution of cultural heritage.
The Bedhaya Ketawang dance was finally given to the
Surakarta Kasunanan and in its development this dance was still performed at the coronation and
commemoration of the ascension of Sunan Surakarta.

This Bedhaya Ketawang dance depicts Kanjeng Ratu Kidul’s love affair with the king of Mataram.
All of that is embodied in the dance moves. The words contained in the song
accompanying this dance describe Kanjeng Ratu Kidul’s outpouring of heart for the king.
This
dance is usually played by nine female dancers.
According to public belief, every performance
of the Bedhaya Ketawang Dance is believed to have Kanjeng Ratu Kidul present and dancing as the tenth
dancer.

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As a sacred dance, there are several conditions that every dancer must have. The main
requirement is that the dancers must be pure girls and not menstruating.
If they are
menstruating, dancers must first ask permission from Kanjeng Ratu Kidul by performing
a caos
dhahar on the sanga buwana stage, the Surakarta palace. This is done by fasting for
several days before the show.
The purity of the dancers is very important, because it is
said that during the rehearsal, Kangjeng Ratu Kidul will come over to the dancers if her movements are
still wrong.

In the show, the Bedhaya Ketawang Dance is accompanied by the accompaniment of ketawang gedhe gending music
with pelog tones.
The instruments used include kethuk, kenong, gong, kendhang ,
and
manak . In the Bedhaya Ketawang Dance, it is divided into three rounds
(scenes).
In the middle of the dance, the gendhing tone changes to slendro for 2 times.
After that, the gending tone returns to the pelog tone until the dance ends.

Apart from being accompanied by gending music, the Bedhaya Ketawang Dance is accompanied by a song (song)
that describes Kanjeng Ratu Kidul’s outpouring of heart for the king.
In the first part the
dance is accompanied by the song Durma, then it is continued by Ratnamulya.
When the dancers
return to the palace
ageng prabasuyasa , musical instruments are added to the xylophone,
fiddle, gender and flute to add to the harmony of the atmosphere.

In the show, the clothing worn by dancers in the Bedhaya Ketawang Dance is the clothing worn by Javanese brides,
namely Dodot Ageng or commonly referred to as Basahan . For the hair, use
the Bokor Mengkurep Bun, which is a coil that is larger in size than the Yogyakarta style
bun.

The jewelery accessories used include centhung, garudha mungkur, comb saajar rapids, cundhuk mentul, and
arrived dhadha (a flower arrangement worn on the bun , which extends to the right side
of the chest).

Bedhaya Ketawang is a dance that functions not only as entertainment, because this dance is only danced for
something special and in a very official setting.
The Bedhaya Ketawang dance depicts the love
affair between Kangjeng Ratu Kidul and the kings of Mataram.
Everything is manifested in the
movements of the hands and all parts of the body, the way
the sondher is held and so on.
All the words listed in the song that accompanies the dance show a picture of Kanjeng Ratu
Kidul’s outpouring of love for the king.

According to public belief, every time the Bedhaya Ketawang Dance is performed, it is believed that Kanjeng
Ratu Kidul will attend the ceremony and join the dance as the tenth dancer.
The Bedhaya
Ketawang dance is performed by nine dancers.
In Javanese mythology, the nine dancers of Bedhaya
Ketawang depict the nine cardinal directions ruled by nine gods called
Nawasanga .

As a sacred dance, there are several conditions that must be possessed by the dancers. The
main condition is that the dancer must be a pure girl and not menstruating.
If they are
menstruating, dancers are still allowed to dance with the condition that they have to ask permission from
Kanjeng Ratu Kidul to perform
caos dhahar at the Sangga Buwana Stage, Keraton Surakarta.

The next requirement is to be spiritually pure. This is done by fasting for several days
before the performance.
The sanctity of the dancers is really paid attention to because it is
said that Kanjeng Ratu Kidul will come to approach the dancers whose movements are still wrong during the
rehearsal.

The nine Bedhaya Ketawang dancers have their own names and functions. Each dancer has its own
symbol of meaning for its position

  • The first dancer is called Batak which is symbolized as mind and soul.
  • The second dancer is called Endhel Ajeg which is symbolized as the heart’s desire or lust.
  • The third dancer is called Endhel Weton which is symbolized as the right leg
  • The fourth dancer is called Apit Ngarep which is symbolized as the right arm
  • The fifth dancer is called Apit Mburi which is symbolized as the left arm.
  • The sixth dancer is called Apit Meneg which is symbolized as the left leg.
  • The seventh dancer is called Gulu which is symbolized as a body
  • The eighth dancer is called Dhada which is symbolized as a body.
  • The ninth dancer is called Buncit which is symbolized as a sexual organ. The ninth
    dancer here is represented as a constellation of stars which is a symbol of penang or
    sky.

The clothes worn by the dancers of Bedhaya Ketawang are dodot ageng or also known as basahan, which are
usually worn by Javanese brides.
The dancers also use a bokor cupping gelung, which is a larger
coil, as well as various jewelry accessories consisting of
centhung, garudha mungkur, saajar rapids
comb, cundhuk mentul , and arrived dhadha (jasmine flower arrangements worn in a bun that
extends to the right side of the chest). ).

The clothing of the Bedhaya Ketawang dancers is very similar to Javanese wedding attire and is dominated by
green, indicating that Bedhaya Ketawang is a dance that depicts the love story of Kanjeng Ratu Kidul with the
kings of Mataram.

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Initially, Bedhaya Ketawang was performed for two and a half hours. However, since the time of
Pakubuwana X, there have been reductions, so that the duration is one and a half hours.
Gending
or music used to accompany Bedhaya Ketawang is called
Gending Ketawang Gedhe which has a
pelog tone .

The gamelan instruments used to perform this piece consist of five types, namely kethuk, kenong, kendhang,
gong , and manak , which dominate the overall rhythm of the piece. Bedhaya
Ketawang is divided into three scenes (chapters).
In the middle of the dance, the gending
note changes to the
slendro tone twice, then the gending tone returns to the pelog
barrel until the dance ends.

In the first part the dance is accompanied by the song Durma, then changes to Retnamulya. When
accompanying the dancers to enter Dalem Ageng Prabasuyasa, the gamelan instruments being played are added to
the fiddle, gender, xylophone, and flute.
This is all done to add harmony to the
atmosphere.

Meaning of the Bedhaya Dance Floor Pattern

As with other dances, the Bedhaya Ketawang dance has its own floor pattern. The floor pattern
for this dance uses floor patterns for
monitor mabur wickets, jejer wayang wickets, sequence bean
wickets, scorpion wickets, war wickets, and three-three wickets . The floor pattern in
this dance is also known as the
row raft which describes the five elements in human
beings, namely light, taste, soul, lust, and behavior.

As a sacred dance, there are several conditions that must be met by each dancer, namely the nine dancers
must be a holy girl and not menstruating or menstruating.
If she is menstruating, the dancer
must first ask permission from Kanjeng Ratu Kidul by performing
a dahar caos on the
Sangga Buwana stage at the Surakarta Palace.
This is done by fasting for several days
before the show.
When the practice begins, Kanjeng Ratu Kidul will come if there are
dancers whose movements are not quite right.

Bedhaya Ketawang Dance Choreography

As explained in the book Kagunan Sekar Padma: Continuity and Development of Traditional Arts in Yogyakarta in the
Early 20th Century, compiled by Indra Fibiona and Darto Harnoko, the choreography for the Bedhaya
Ketawang dance is accompanied by sinden and gamelan music.
Furthermore, the dance was
composed very carefully based on the direction of the ruler (crown prince) for important events in the
palace.

This careful attention to choreography and musical accompaniment shows how important the ritual function of
the art form is.
The long and complex choreography, as well as the music of gamelan and sinden
require the cohesiveness of the playing of artists who need to practice regularly to harmonize with each
other.
Initially, such big performances were only held at the Surakarta Palace and Yogyakarta
Palace.
However, the show began to be adapted by higher officials in the duchy as time went
on.

The oldest and considered the most sacred of the Bedhaya Ketawang dances is the Surakarta Bedhaya Ketawang
dance.
This dance later became the dance that inspired all forms of Bedhaya choreography, both
in Surakarta and Yogyakarta.
This was because there were marriages between the royal families,
so the bride and groom brought
pendherek artists who accompanied them.

The Story Behind the Bedhaya Ketawang Dance

Quoted from the same book written by Indra Fibiona and Darto Harnoko, this dance tells the story of Ratu
Kidul who coincidentally meets the sultan on the beach, the border between the Mataram Kingdom of Yogyakarta
and the Nyi Roro Kidul Kingdom.
The Sultan of Mataram and Kanjeng Kidul are attracted to each
other.

The Sultan then followed the Queen of the South to her palace which was at the bottom of the sea.
They lived together for some time, until Sunan Kalijaga’s spirit came to advise the sultan that his
bride (Queen of the South) was actually not a human, because her eternal beauty was as perfect as a young
girl’s.

At that time, Ratu Kidul met the sultan on a full moon night, so that the sultan was so fascinated by the
beauty of the queen.
Sunan Kalijaga then made the sultan aware by giving advice to continue
carrying out the mandate, namely to carry out the task of protecting the people and their kingdom which had
been neglected because they were enamored with the Queen of the South.

In the end, Sultan Agung then left Ratu Kidul. However, the queen will always protect Sultan
Agung and his descendants, whenever the Mataram Kingdom is in danger.

Source

  • Bedhaya Ketawang Dance “. Indonesia’s Intangible Cultural Heritage .
    Retrieved November 23, 2022.
  • Bedhaya Ketawang Dance “. Center Of Excellence (CoE) Javanese
    Culture . Retrieved November 23, 2022.
  • Bedhaya Ketawang Dance “. Indonesian Tourism .
    Retrieved November 23, 2022.