Reog Tengger: Dance of the Tenggerese on Mount Bromo

Standing majestically in the massive caldera of the once historical Mount Tengger, is Mount Bromo, The icon of East Java, a genuinely magnificent wonder. Its superb sunrise and stunning scenic scenery have captivated tourists from all around the world. Mount Bromo is also the home of the Tengger submarine cultural group who till today still preserve their age-old traditions and way of life. One of those is the art of Reog. Even though Reog himself comes from the neighboring regency of Ponorogo, the Reog Tengger Mount Bromo has the unique characteristics that differentiate it from Reog Ponorogo. Reog is a traditional Javanese dancing from East Java which involves many elements, including a graceful choreography, remarkable physical power, along with extravagant costumes and decorations.

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The primary character of Reog is the magic lion-like creature named Singa Barong. Singa Barong is a massive mask made to resemble a tiger’s or leopard’s head, over whose head are fans of a long peacock feather. The Singa Barong mask is notoriously heavy where the dancer must be capable of transporting the 30 to 40 kg mask from the potency of his teeth only. For that reason, individuals believe that the individual capacity to execute this accomplishment must surely have supernatural skills and strength. Occasionally, the Singa Barongan – sometimes called barongan – might also carry a young guy or woman on the lion’s head.

Plus the burden of the individual sitting at the top of the lion’s head, so, the Reog dancer must then carry a load of around 100 kilograms, and this only from the potency of his teeth! Holding this substantial thick mask by massaging into it, he depends on the strength of his jaws, shoulder and neck muscles. The diameter of the mask itself spans more than 2.5 meters including the peacock feathers along with other colorful decorations. Reog performance typically consists of 3 sets of dances while several persons conduct every dance. The first is the opening dancing, performed by warok, male dancers wearing entirely black outfits symbolizing rough guys wearing frightening mustache along with other masculine features.

The 2nd is the Jaran Kepang dancing performed by Jatil that was initially performed by a gemblak, a handsome, teenaged boy wearing a colorful costume. Today female dancers usually play this job. While the next dance is the principal attraction of the show conducted together with Reog dancers. The warok as the celebrity male performer carries the big and thick lion masks and dances on center stage while the others dance around him. To emphasize the barongan warrior’s outstanding the power, Jatil then climbs on the top, riding the lion’s mask and can be then consequently taken around the arena.

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