The Betawi Mask Dance is a typical Betawi dance which is usually performed during performances by the Betawi Mask folk theater group. This art is a traditional performance of various forms of Betawi art and culture, such as dance, traditional music, traditional songs, comedy or bebodoran, as well as plays or dramas.
This art is very developed, especially in the Betawi-Pinggir or Betawi Ora community area. By raising and describing various problems in the life of the Betawi people, the forms and movements of the Betawi mask dance imply various meanings in every movement of the dancers’ bodies.
Over time, the Betawi Mask dance is usually modified according to the theme of the performance when the Betawi Mask dance is performed. Because, the theme in a performance will greatly affect the various movements in this dance.
Uniquely, the Betawi Mask dance is a dance that is not only theatrical, but also implies various messages of wisdom in social life in the various dance movements that are performed.
In ancient times, Betawi Mask Dance was staged and performed by walking around the village by groups of Betawi arts activists. This group usually appears and is invited to various events, such as weddings, circumcisions, and so on. The Betawi people in ancient times also believed and believed that the Betawi Mask dance was able to avoid and keep people away from various dangers and disasters.
However, with the development of knowledge and changing times, this belief slowly began to fade and even disappear. Until finally, at this time the Betawi Mask dance was performed purely as a traditional art and entertainment only in various celebration events and other traditional events.
Betawi Mask Dance Series
The Betawi Mask dance performance is currently divided into several parts or segments, which begin and begin with the playing of the music game “tetalu”, tetalu, which is a typical Betawi instrumental. Next, after the instrument music has finished, the Kangaji-dancers will appear, which is a basic dance or a special learning dance for children who want to seriously study the Betawi Mask dance.
After the Kangaji dance performance is over, accompanied by a sari-style song, a female dancer (called “ronggeng”) will reappear with a mask to perform a single masked dance.
After that, the next sequence is the Lipet Gandes dance, the Lipet Gandes dance is an art that combines dance and also very funny jokes. Because, after the dance performance is over, a funny character or “bodor” character will appear, who will invite the dancer to have a dialogue and learn how to dance, but with a very funny style and style.
When the Lipet Gandes dance ends, it will be followed by the performance of the Enjot-enjotan dance in pairs of men and women.
This dance has special accompaniment songs, including the ailo song, the enjot-enjotan song, and also the lipet gandes song, in which there will be many musical rhythms with Sundanese cultural influences.
Next, after the Enjot-enjotan dance performance, the performance will end with a joke. Usually, the story in this joke is very simple and also in a not too long duration.
This is what distinguishes the series of Betawi mask art events in the past and present, so that currently Betawi mask dance performances no longer last long and are no longer all night long like in the past.
Betawi Mask Dance Movement
The movements of the dancers in Betawi Mask Dance rely heavily on the softness of hand movements, hip agility, and also leg endurance. In this dance, the dancers often perform lower body movements, so they really need leg endurance. Likewise with the hands, the hands must also be flexible, because the movements in this dance always include various rotational movements, especially on the hips and also the hands of the dancers.
Betawi mask dance movements on the hips look a little erotic, when they do it the dancers look as if they are teasing the audience, so they scream loudly. However, it is not easy to get a rousing response from the audience. Because, the audience’s response was only obtained by clever and skilled dancers in demonstrating the Betawi mask dance movements. This is what causes some people to say that it is not easy to be a dancer at a Betawi Mask dance performance.
Each dancer in the Betawi Mask dance must meet the following three requirements in order to be able to demonstrate the Betawi Mask dance very well, namely:
1) Gandes; it means graceful;
2) Ajer; it means cheerful and cheerful; this is so that whatever is experienced and happens to a dancer personally, the ronggeng should not look sad or gloomy;
3) Dancers are required to dance freely, agilely, and without any burden.
Betawi Mask Dance Costumes and Properties
Dancer costumes for Betawi Mask dancers depend on the theme of the event where the dance will be performed. However, the costume cannot be separated from the characteristics of Betawi clothing. The male dancers often wear black clothes, T-shirts, trousers, sarongs wrapped in short, and are also equipped with caps or headbands.
As for the female dancers, they usually use a kebaya and also a typical Betawi batik cloth, which is complete with a chest covering or toka-toka. In addition, they also wear metal or pending belts, wear scarves or kewer, use belly coverings or amprang, and also wear hip covers or carriages.
At the head, female dancers wear colorful head coverings, which are often referred to as flower masks. The Lipet Gandes dance dancers are also usually equipped with a large fan as a face covering, especially when having a characteristic dialogue with “bodor” with comedians, or worn when singing.
Single Mask Dancers are often equipped with three masks to wear during dancing. The masks will be worn by biting on the handle of the mask from the back, so that the mask looks like it sticks to the face.
Along with the development of society from time to time, the Betawi Mask dance has also developed and has many variations. In fact, it has often been performed independently without any more Betawi Mask dance performances.
After the birth of the Topeng Tunggal dance, which is often performed in this series of mask dances, new dances were born which were later incorporated into a new type of Betawi Mask dance.
However, even though these dances are included in the category of the Mask dance family, only in the Single Mask dance do the dancers use a mask in their dance performances.
Until now, there are several types of variations of the Betawi Mask dance, including:
1) Lipet Gandes Dance,
2) Single Mask Dance,
3) Enjot-enjotan dance,
4) Gegot Dance,
5) Beautiful Mask Dance,
6) Princess Mask Dance,
7) Expression Mask Dance,
8) Kang Aji.
Meanwhile, there are many new types of dances that were born due to inspiration from the Mask dance movement, including the Ngarojeng dance, Doger Amprok dance, Gitek Balen dance, Kembang Lambang Sari dance, Nandak Ganjen dance, and also the Sengget Mask dance.