The cultural regions of Java, Bali and Sunda have similarities deriving from the Majapahit Kingdom. The direct contact with Majapahit and Java and Bali cultures have affected the nobility values in both regions. “The trait can be seen by observing art performances in the human wayang (shadow) dramadance of Yogyakarta and Gambuh,” said Trianti Nugraheni, M.Si., staff from Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI) on Tuesday (21/9) at UGM Graduate School.
Trianti said those when defending her dissertation entitled Characters of Female Figures in Classical Dramadance in Javanese, Balinese, and Sundanese Cultures. A short glance will not show similarities, but if we look at it closer, there are similarities in the system to regulate the movement, wardrobe, makeup, and dialog between characters. “Both always put hierarchy in the figure characteristics. The coarse and refined concepts adhered to by noblemen are very strong particularly in the different uses of language when they are conversing,” said the lady born in Klaten, 16 March 1973.
According to Trianti, the difference is affected by the king-god government system in Keraton Yogyakarta and Balinese Kingdom. The concept has put the king as the reincarnation of god that should be respected by his people.
Trianti explained that on Sunda, the influence of Mataram culture is not as huge as the other two due to the indirect contact. A short look will not show a difference in the structure of human puppet performance of Yogyakarta and Priangan. Both look similar if compared in terms of choreography, makeup, and wardrobe. Hierarchial concept is still seen in both dramadances. “But closer observation of dialog shows and the movements of female figure who has the character of lungguh and ladak, the difference is very mild,” she explained.
Furthermore, the wife of Kiki Mulyakin, S.Sn. said, the cultural contact in Sunda has only affected the performance structure of human wayang of Priangan, not touching the dialog part such as those in Yogyakarta and Gambuh human wayang.
The character of female dancer in Yogyakarta, Gambuh, and Priangan human wayang present feminine figures. Despite the feminine character, the female dancer in Yogyakarta, Gambuh, and Priangan human wayang have differences. The character of Javanese girl is more refined, regular and controlled. The character of Balinese girl is more contrast and independent, while the caracter of Sundanese girl reflects energetic, adaptive, and inovative traits.
“The femininity of Javanese character is built on the concept of harmony that it has the introverted figure image, while the character of Balinese figure is built on the concept of contrast that it creates the very extroverted image. This is similar to the character of Sundanese figure which is exroverted as it is built on innovative nature,” the mother of two sons said.