Getting to Know 5 Traditional West Papua Dances

Papua traditional dance

Forest products, tourism, mining, agriculture, seaweed, and woven goods are just some of the many promising industries of West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya). Nevertheless, West Papua is also home to a million cultures, including the traditional West Papua dances, which will be discussed in this article.

1. Suanggi Dance

Tari Suanggi

Traditional Soanggi dance, or Suanggi dance, originated from the coastal region of Cenderawasih Bay. At the beginning of the dance, the husband tells the tale of how his wife was killed by an anggi-anggi, soannggi, or kapes.

Typically, the spirit will possess a female host, making her a powerful sorcerer. When demons possess the ladies, they become soanggi women. As a result, the Soanggi dance came to have a dense mystical undertone.

Dozens of men dancers, including a leader, perform this dance. The costumes worn by the dancers are traditional West Papuan garments. Tifa instruments and shell trumpets provide the musical backdrop for this dance.

2. Wutukala Dance

Tari Wutukala

The Moy people of West Papua are known for their unique dance culture, which includes the Wutukala dance. People’s actions while fishing is the theme of this dance. It is common for male and female dancers to execute this dance in tandem or as part of a larger ensemble.

The Wutukala dance is a show of appreciation for the improvements and breakthroughs that have aided their way of life as fishermen. Also, this dance is a way for the community to demonstrate its appreciation for the many gifts the people have received.

Traditional Tifa or taburah music often accompanies Wutukala dance performances. Some people take it a step further by using musical instruments like guitar, bass, ukulele, and others.

3. Tumbu Tana Dance

Tari Tumbu Tana

Manokwari’s indigenous Arfak community owns many distinctive cultural practices, such as the Tumbu Tana dance. Guests from outside the Arfak village, victories in battle, and weddings are just a few of the many reasons behind the performance of this dance.

The number of people who may participate in a performance of Tumbu Tana is almost unlimited. The participants in this dance may be from a single village or several different villages working together.

Music for the dance includes diun, nihet duwei, and isap. Vigorous leaping, stomping, and hand-holding accompany all three songs. The second and third tracks contain poems written by the dancers to convey the dance’s meaning.

4. Magasa Dance

Tari Magasa - tarian tradisional Papua

The Arfak people, celebrating their success in battle, narrate their story via the Magasa dance. A collective effort brought them a decisive win, and they celebrated it with great jubilation.

As simple as it may seem, this dance actually conveys more than just welcome. If you look closely enough, you may decipher the dance’s message of harmony and appreciation for one another’s individuality.

The dance begins with a song with no musical accompaniment. The elegance of their motions remains in sync with one another. It is important to remember that each seemingly innocuous action conveys a complex message.

5. Sajojo Dance

Sajojo Dance - Papua traditional dance

The Sajojo dance is a Papuan cultural artifact. This Papua traditional dance has a special status. Now being a social dance, Sajojo dance may be performed by groups of all sizes, including those made up entirely of men, women, children, and the elderly.

Every dancer, of course, aspires to have their movements seem consistent with those of their fellow artists so that they may blend into the current art form more seamlessly.

This dancing outfit is quite similar to another classic Papuan dance garb. They don traditional garments woven from grasses and leaves to dress the part. As time goes on, however, some people manufacture this outfit out of fabric to make it more modern and stylish.

Final Words

The traditional West Papua dances are a valuable cultural heritage. They are distinct from those performed elsewhere in the country. It is since these dances convey various meanings that are intrinsically linked to the lived experience of their participants.