Kuda Lumping

There is a traditional Indonesian dance involving a group of dancers who “ride” on colourful horses made of bamboo and cloth. In the western part of Java it is known as Kuda Lumping (“flat horse”). In central Java it is called Jaran Kepang. The dance is also performed on Bali where people call it Sang Hyang Jaran. Kuda Lumping is danced abroad too. It can be seen in places with communities of Javan origin like for example in Malaysia, Singapore or Suriname.

Kuda Lumping
Kuda Lumping

Dancers are usually men, but there are female groups too. They wear special traditional clothes. Groups vary from 2 to 8 members. According to performers they achieve the state of trance under influence of spirit or “hyang”. Other dancer or shaman then guides them with a whip. Some experts believe that the dance has its origin in battles fought during Dutch rule over this part of the World.

Kuda Lumping is the part of events important for certain community like for example rite of passage. There are situations where people dance it on city streets for money. Music that accompanies the dancers is performed with traditional instruments – angklung, gongs and different drums. It is quite common that some individuals in the audience sing.