Current Issue

Creative Reinvention of Joget Gamelan in Malaysia

IJCCI volume 3, issue 1, November 2015

This paper discusses the Joget Gamelan dance, one of the oldest forms of dance in Malaysia. The genre is believed to be derived from court or palace traditions that began in the 17th century in Java. The ‘original’ repertoire is said to consist of more than 60 dances. However, as with most traditional dance forms, their knowledge has been lost through lack of documentation and practice, coupled with political and social change. Only ten dances are known today. Rather than exploring that history, this paper examines the main modes and methods of presentation that exist today. This can be broadly divided into a dance drama by specific dance repertoire within a performance. This paper investigates new trends in performance and how the dances retain their aesthetics and values that are embedded within court traditions. This paper also documents relevant strategies in performance technique and actual dance structure that have helped keep this dance genre alive in contemporary society. The fact that most courts or royal households do not play an active role in its patronage today, nor place emphasis on the dance repertoire, has required inventive thinking and choreography to breathe life and relevance into the dance form.


Keywords: Joget Gamelan, Dance drama, Dance performance, Creative Reinvention