Why Sajojo Dance Is The Most Popular In West Papua

Sajojo Dance
Source: Berita Papua

“Sajojo … Sajojo … “

If you feel familiar with this phrase and the music, guess what it is and where it is from. Sajojo is one of the famous dances as part of the West Papuan arts. It is now common to see anyone performing this dance at local parties and other entertainment shows.

Yes, the Sajojo dance might remind you of a similar line dancing in Hollywood movies, where the dancers dress up as cowboys and cowgirls with the country music playing in the background. However, we are not talking about the same dance here.

Sajojo Dance
Sumber : Youtube

Getting In-Sync With Sajojo Dance In West Papua

For starters, Sajojo Dance is from the most eastern part of West Papua. This traditional dance has a different synchronized movement. The movement’s priority is on the feet and hands as the body sways to the alternating rhythm. The hands move and the feet stomp.

This dance is accompanied by its own anthem “Sajojo”. The song is derived from the West Papuan language. The music is usually played by a guitar, violin, keyboard, and tifa (their traditional percussion drum covered in dried animal skin). There is also a beautiful back story of this popular dance.

The Origin of Sajojo Dance From West Papua

Here is the back story of the dance:

A beautiful lady once lived in a village. She had both parents – a father and a mother – who loved her very much. Not only that, but many men in the village also adored her. Each wanted to get close to her, to interact with her whenever they had the chance.

The back story of this traditional dance from West Papua is indeed romantic. There is a spirit of purpose and hope in Sajojo Dance. It speaks the hope of every man in the village to one day be with the most beautiful woman of their dreams.

It is no surprise that this dance requires positive energy and is often performed at parties. Everyone – man and woman, boy and girl – can dance together. The more, the merrier. You can be with either four other people to tens of many others to dance. Of course, more people means a bigger venue to do the Sajojo dance together.

It is unclear when this dance was exactly found and formed. However, Sajojo dance started becoming more famous in the 1990s.

The Sajojo Dance Floor Patterns:

The floor patterns used for this dance are the straight and the curved lines. If the straight-line patterned floor is used, then the dancers form a V-shaped formation. Then they stand in a horizontal line before vertically lining up.

If they use the curved line patterned floor, the dancers’ formation should be in a circle.

The Sajojo Dance Formations and Routines:

There are various kinds of formations and routines regarding Sajojo dance. If you are a newbie in this, these are the simple steps you can try:

  • Do the half-standing and half-sitting positions.
  • When the song begins, stand up and start jumping forward and back. When you jump forward, keep your hands open and facing ahead. When it is the opposite, keep your hands down. It is for the intro.
  • Repeat the movements above over and over again until the lyrics to Sajojo song is sung.
  • Jump to the right and back, then clap your hands twice.
  • March forward and back four times while moving your hands to the right and the left.
  • Repeat the movements above repeatedly, then do the circle formation and stomp your feet as you circle the formation.

The Sajojo dancers put some white powder on their eyelids, cheeks, and noses. Their bodies will have white paintings painted on them, and they must also wear tassel skirts, headbands, necklaces, and bracelets. The male dancers usually carry weapons, like arrows and bows.

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