Gambyong Dance

Gambyong is a dance which is performed to welcome guests or to initiate a wedding. Commonly the dancer is averagely young and beautiful. As a performance art, Gambyong gives you a unique esthetic experience, so it is good as a tour object of arts and culture.
They say that they named the dance after a taledhek dancer. She lived in the era of Sunan Paku Buwana IV in Surakarta. She was also mentioned in a book Cariyos Lelampahanipun by Suwargi R.Ng. Ronggowarsito (1803-1873). The book said that there lived a ledhek dancer called Gambyong who was very good at dancing and singing so that all men adored her.
The choreography of Gambyong dance employs a lot the movements of feet, body, arms, and head. The motions of the head and the hands which are so smooth and controlled are the specification of the dance. The direction of the eyes which follows the direction of the hands motion by gazing at the fingers is the dominant factor of the hands movements in the expression of Gambyong. You may observe the movement of ukel asta (spinning the hands) as the form of motion which is often carried out.
The movements of the feet in the states of standing and walking have a harmonious correlation. For instance, the srisig movement is standing on the tiptoes and making tiny steps; nacah miring is the left foot moving to the side followed by the right one to the front of the left one; kengser is dragging the feet to the side. The specific movement of the feet in Gambyong is embat or entrag, that is the position of the knee opening owing to bending down and up.
The implementation of the floor patterns is during the transitions between the movements. The shifts of the dancer’s position are carried out during the connecting movements, such as srisig, singget ukel karna, kengser, and nacah miring. Besides, it is done in the series of walking movement (sekaran mlaku) or walk-less movement (sekaran mandheg).
B. Features
As a female dance, Gambyong has some rules that make the movements look a bit restricted. The reason is to keep and to show off the gentle nature of woman. A female dance is rarely energetic. It is soft, smooth, tender, and decorous instead. Such nature of female is always respected by means of gentle arts. Therefore, the arms are never higher than the shoulders, the thighs are always close, and there are never any jumps. The shape and the flexibility of a woman’s body perfect the feminine. It can be achieved only by good sense and tenderness.
The beauty of the dance is the expression of smoothness and liveliness. It appears from the harmony and the synchroneity of the movements and the rhythm. The harmonious movements and rhythm makes the dance look adroit. It will look so beautiful if the dancer performs it to the full and expresses it perfectly so there appears an expression of sensual and erotic dance.
The costume and the make-up also play an important role in the expression of the dance. The corrective make-up creates a naturally beautiful face that is pleasurable to see.
The costume called angkinan or kembenan emphasizes the body shape of the dancer and makes the movements—even the slightest one like ogek lambung—more clear. This sort of wear enables the dancer to move freely aligning with the manifestation and the friskiness of Gambyong dance.
Since the cloth is pleated, when the dancer walks or moves, the pleat will open and close so that the dance looks alive and the image of coquettish is strengthened. Thus, the most proper wear for Gambyong dance is angkinan with gelung gedhe.
The shoulders are let open, even the breasts are at times lifted so they look plump and are called glathik mungup (the dent looks like a finch sticks its head out). Diverse sorts of Gambyong dance clothing nowadays are more decorative and less fit with the dance. Nevertheless, they make the Gambyong performance more various and attractive.
Gambyong will reach the value of esthetics only if performed by a dancer who has a strong ground of dance. Not only getting used to the dance accounts for the optimal performance, but also the cultural background that shapes the personality of the dancer does. Being accustomed to Gambyong will shape the dancer to a dancer who fuses with the dance. It is so because a dancer not only moves physically, but also she expresses her intuition through dynamic as well as proportional movements.
Gambyong dance is an attraction because the beauty of its movements is erotic. Since the patterns of the movements are non-representative (tan wadhag), the target of its viewers are anyone. Furthermore, its various patterns along with its upbeat rhythm make the dance dynamic. Because of its specific patterns to create an erotic image, the performance of Gambyong is very attractive and enjoyable.
C. Location

Gambyong dance can be found in Surakarta.
D. Access
You can watch the performance of Gambyong dance by attending a wedding that still practices the original tradition of Surakarta or by going to the dance performance organized by Kraton Surakarta.
E. Ticket
You can enjoy the performance of Gambyong dance for free.
F. Accomodations and Other Facilities
You can complete your tour by visiting the Sunanate of Kraton Surakarta Hadiningrat. It is the remnant of Mataram Hadiningrat Kingdom that accounts for the emergence of Surakarta City. Before the palace, there lies Grand Mosque of Surakarta. You walk 200 meters and you will get to Klewer Market. There is no need to worry about a stay for there are various lodgings here, from regular inns to luxurious hotels. You can also have a taste of some traditional food of Solo or common Central Java.(Take it fr