The Mystical Aniri Dance of West Papua

Aniri Dance
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West Papua is enriched with numerous cultural arts, like dances, songs, and music. Traditional dances are performed for certain occasions, like welcoming events, festivals, or celebrations. However, some also are uniquely mystical; let’s say Aniri Dance. Unlike other dances which are managed for such agenda, Aniri Dance is sacred and magical.

Here are some details you can follow about Aniri Dance of West Papua.

Aniri Dance
Sumber : Youtube

Some Facts about Aniri Dance

Some sources mention that Aniri Dance initially comes from a village in Fakfak Regency, West Papua. The village is well-known as Koakwa, where the people have been performing traditional art even since Indonesia earned its independence on August 17, 1945.

Aniri Dance was found by Imayu. The characteristic of the tribal dance is sacred and magic as it philosophically reflects the redemption of a child from a demonic force. The child is depicted as having disturbance from the demon after the parents leave him behind in the village.


The Parts and Movements in Aniri Dance

As mentioned in the above discussion, Aniri Dance is about a child being released from the disturbance of a demon. The philosophy is manifested into the parts and movements of the dance. Here are some highlights about them.

The Parts

Aniri Dance encompasses several parts performed within the mystical story. The first part of the performance is when the dancers play a role as parents leave the child to the village. The second part is when the dancer is acting as a child, the main character is left alone at home—his state of being alone triggers the demon to come to him. 

The third part of the dance is established by the role of the demon who approaches the child and makes him his son. The fourth part is when the parents eventually come home and look for their child. At the end of the part, the parents find their child. He is finally released from the demonic force and leaves to join the liberators.

The Movements

Aniri Dance has three main distinctive movements, making it different from other dances from other regions in Papua and West Papua. The movements of Aniri Dance are wae ndi, aniri ndi, and wapa. These movements are dynamic and sacred, so anyone cannot easily dance it without any guidance.

The movement of wae ndi is when the dancers try to protect the child from the disturbance of the demon. Next, aniri ndi is the dance movement that symbolizes feeding the demon to release the child. The last movement is wapa represents the process of redemption to set the child free from the demonic force.


The Costumes and Music

It is widely known that the people of Papua and West Papua are closely connected to the surrounding nature, and it is also reflected through the costumes of Aniri Dance. The dancers of Aniri generally occupy costumes and accessories made of natural material. The costume wore the male and female dancers of Aniri is called tauri or rogoi. Rogoi is definitely fresh as it is made of sago leaf. 

The accessories are even more interesting. They wear the feathers of native animals from the region. These animals are cassowary, white cockatoo, and, of course, cenderawasih, the bird of paradise. Their makeup is also natural as they use limestone for white pigment and laterite for red pigment.

Thus, the mystical, magnificent Aniri Dance of West Papua has become part of people in the region. On the floor stage, the dance performance is normally accompanied by Tifa, the traditional musical instrument in the region. The song sung is Awito Tao. Fascinating to learn, isn’t it?