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Dance Summary

The Kanoman court-bedaya different from the Surakarta and Yogyakarta bedaya. Dr, Buddingh says further that the bedaya in the palace of Kanoman was also called sinding, which comes from the word sinden, a Javanese word, meaning "to sing". Bedaya in the Kanoman palace in Cirebon was also called sinding because the bedaya dancers sang as they danced.

The number of the bedaya dancers was not fixed, This century the Kanoman court-bedaya is usually danced by six women, The author was told by ex. Sultan Kanoman X on a visit in 102, that the number of six dancers has been suited to the Rukun Iman (Six Pillars of Belief) of Islam. Consequently, the stories presented are the Menak stories from the lslamic period.

Among the two kingdoms in West Java, Banten and Cirebon, it was Cirebon which succeeded in cultivating dancing, which not Surprising since Banten collapsed much earlier. Cirebon was then split tip into three small kingdoms: Kesepuhan, Kanoman and Kacerbonan, the first two having political power.

Up to the beginning of the 19th century, it was the kingdom of Cirebon where dancing was cultivated and developed. Sundanese dances even took their Sources from the dances of the palaces of Cirebon.


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During the English invasion (1811-1816) the Sultans (kings) of Cirebon were dethroned, and the)- retained only the rights of regents. This situation, begun under the English colonial domination, was maintained by the Dutch when they regained their colonial power over Java. Politically, the kingdoms of Cirebon were directly tinder Dutch colonial rule since the beginning of the 19th century. Nevertheless, dancing developed favourably.
Besides the court-dances described above, there are also the dances of the common people.


Among the dances of the common people that were popular before the independence were the topeng babakan, the kuda lumping the angklung dance, the segeng dance, the beksan, the ronggeng lais or sintren, the ketuk tilu and the ibing penca.


The topeng babakan, as explained above was a simple masked dance-drama on small scale. danced by a woman called -ronggeng, and one man or two men. The story presented was a Panji story or the story of Damarwulan. The topeng babakan is entertainment for the people held in the streets or markets for payments. Because the performers were paid, it is not surprising that during the feudal period undesirable things often took place for example the spectators frequently behaved indecently towards the woman dancers or ronggengs. Because of this,the term ronggeng is an unfavourable term in Sundanese society.


Kuda Lumping is a very popular west Javanese dance. It is danced by four or eight pairs of men who pretend to ride on imitation horses made of woven bamboo. It is a remnant of old dances that were ecstatic and warlike in nature. In Cirebon the dance is called kuda lumping and the music accompanying it is the gamelan. In Bandung it is called kuda kepang and is accompanied by bamboo angklung instruments. There is also kuda lumping in Bandung accompanied by the terbang (tambourine), kendang (drum) and trumpet.

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