Culture Agency Encourages Regeneration of Wayang Wong Dancers

Culture Agency Encourages Regeneration of Wayang Wong Dancers

Wayang wong sacred dance that is virtually endangered at Ban village, Kubu, can finally be reconstructed. Culture agency came down immediately at that time to explore the potential of the sacred and rare arts. However, the challenge ahead is to continue the regeneration. Karangasem culture agency is currently working to encourage local residents to maintain

Wayang wong sacred dance that is virtually endangered at Ban village, Kubu, can finally be reconstructed. Culture agency came down immediately at that time to explore the potential of the sacred and rare arts. However, the challenge ahead is to continue the regeneration. Karangasem culture agency is currently working to encourage local residents to maintain the regeneration.

Head of the Karangasem Culture Agency, Putu Arnawa, said on Sunday (Mar. 5) that the reconstruction process took place pretty well last year. As a result, the potential of sacred dance that was made very sacred by local communities can now be reconstructed with the involvement of ISI Denpasar. However, to preserve it, the regeneration process must be going on pretty well. Previously, the potential of this sacred art was almost extinct due to the difficulty of doing regeneration of the dancers. “After this regeneration process goes well, we have emphasized on customary villages there to aggressively disseminate the program to children,” said Arnawa.

He asserted that customary villages are already committed to performing the coaching. Local government will also continue to monitor the coaching after painstakingly reconstructing the sacred dance. Arnawa added that the other potential arts having got its fame in the past, but almost extinct because of the same problem, will be re-discovered. Currently, a team has been conducting a study in the field and making data collection, so that it can be preserved, either as the potential art, tourist attraction or the need of sacred ritual purposes at villages.

Reconstruction process had been carried out by involving around six dancers and gamelan music instructors. It started by checking various masks and other accessories. Conditions of the various types of masks and other equipment are very alarming. Since the wayang wong has no longer been performed, a number of masks are found unkempt and almost destroyed. Luckily, during the reconstruction process, these historical objects can still be repaired and saved.

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At that time, the culture and tourism agency along with the ISI Denpasar began by discovering back the storyline and puppet characters commonly used as the basis of the wayang wong storyline there. Finally, it obtained some storylines such as the “Kumbakarna Seized” or the “Death of Kumbakarna.” Based on the storylines, the ISI Denpasar drafted the storyline, adjusted the characters and created the dance movement. It is a part of our duty, both as discovery, preservation and development.

Local people are very excited to welcome the reconstruction process of the wayang wong. Since long time ago people have wanted the regeneration that could revive and resume the artistic heritage of the sacred dance tradition to support a variety of sacred rituals at local village. “At that time, our officers must be willing to wait for them till evening. Local people could only perform the exercise at night because they are busy at work from morning till evening,” he said.

In the past, wayang wong dance was often performed as a sacred dance to support various rituals at Ban village such as at Puseh Temple or other temples at local village. Regeneration is hard to do because most of local younger generations work in diaspora or outside the village. Especially in Karangasem, a number of villages in other subdistricts are still working to preserve the wayang wong. They include Wates village in Selat subdistrict, Selumbung village in Manggis subdistrict as well as Pempatan village in Rendang subdistrict. Their masks and other equipment are still stored and well maintained. Moreover, the wayang wong in Selat subdistrict has often represented Karangasem to the Bali Arts Festival. (kmb)

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