Each region has a diverse culture and its own uniqueness. Each region is usually closely associated with the values that the community itself believes in. Papua is no exception and is unique when it comes to dancing art. One of the most famous dances is the typical Papuan Musyoh dance.
History of Musyoh Dance
The Musyoh dance dates back to ancient incidents when Papuan tribesmen died due to accidents or unforeseen events.
For this reason, the Papuan believe that the spirits of the deceased are still wandering and restless. The Papuan tribes created a ritual called the Musyoh dance to solve this problem.
Papuans often refer to this dance as the exorcist dance. Several male dancers usually dance. Besides being used as an exorcist, this dance is often performed by the Papuan for another purpose, namely to receive guests.
This dance expresses respect, appreciation, and joy for the guests. When used to ward off spirits, this dance is performed only by men. On the other hand, when welcoming the guest of honor, male and female dancers dance.
Meaning of Musyoh Dance
The importance of the Musyoh dance to the Papuan is how the Papuan come closer to their God.
Because if the spirit becomes haunted, the family left behind feels even more guilty. Based on this, the Musyoh dance is considered sacred.
Over time, this public trust begins to fade. Thus, the Papuan Musyoh dance was performed to welcome guests and pray for their well-being and health.
Musyoh Dance Movements
Originating in West Papua, the Musyoh dance serves as an exorcism ritual and welcome dance. In exorcism ceremonies, movements are generally more lively and agile, as only male dancers perform them. To accentuate the sacred nuances, the dancers add distinctive shouts.
On the other hand, Musyoh dance is simple as a welcome dance. All the dancers need to do is swing their arms and lift their legs to coordinate their movements with the music.
The most noticeable difference between these two phrases is their expressions. This dance is a sign of joy and respect for the participating guests.
Musyoh Dance Costumes and Props
Talking about the art of dance will only be complete if you discuss the costumes and props used. The costumes used by Musyoh dancers are relatively simple.
Costumes are made from a mixture of tree bark and plant roots. This is a costume that is used as a head covering. The dancer’s head also has a tassel ornament, making it look like a crown. The tassel is made of cassowary bird feathers and should be white.
Although there is a difference between male and female dancers in tops, the bodice of male dancers is rather thin or is in the form of layers that do not use clothing at all. On the other hand, female dancers will wear a top in the form of a bra with a color that can be adjusted, and the layers tend to be thick.
The lower robe of Musyoh dancers, regardless of gender, is usually leaf-shaped and has the same shape as the tassel. However, the dancers’ lower garments were replaced with shredded cloth over time.
Apart from that, attributes such as bracelets, necklaces, spears, and shields complement the dancer’s attire.
Musyoh Dance Music Accompaniment
The dance will only be complete with a musical instrument as accompaniment. This makes the dance more lively and expressive. Thus, Musyoh Dance has two acoustic accompaniment elements: Tifa instruments and the dancers’ cries.
Here is some information about Musyoh Dance. The Papuan kept it alive so that this dance would continue to develop and not disappear in the time of sophistication.