Ciamis is an area in West Java. There is a special dance called “Ronggeng Gunung”. Ronggeng Gunung is actually still in the corridor of ronggeng terminology in general, which is a traditional art form with the appearance of one or more dancers. Usually equipped with gamelan and singing or kawih accompaniment. The main dancer is a woman who is equipped with a scarf. The function of the shawl, apart from being complete in dancing, can also be used to “attract” the opponent (usually a male) to dance together by draping it around his neck.
There are several versions of the origin of the dance that grew and developed among the people of South Ciamis (people: Panyutran, Ciparakan, Burujul, Pangandaran and Cijulang). The first version says that Ronggeng Gunung was created by Raden Sawunggaling. It is said that when the kingdom of Galuh was in a state of chaos due to enemy attacks, the King was forced to flee to a safe place from enemy pursuit. In such a situation, there came a savior named Raden Sawunggaling. As an expression of gratitude for such a great service, the King married the Savior to his daughter (Putri Galuh). Then, when Raden Sawunggaling was in office, he created a dance called Ronggeng Gunung as an official means of entertainment at the palace. The dancers are selected strictly by the king and must really have the ability to dance, sing, and have a beautiful appearance, so that at that time the ronggeng dancer had a respected status in the community.
The second version tells the story of a princess who was abandoned by her lover. Day and night the princess mourned the death of her loved one. While the princess wept for the body of her lover who had begun to rot, several young men came to her with the intention of comforting her. The young men danced around the princess while covering their noses because of the stench of corpses. Over time, the princess finally joined the dance and sang with a melancholy tone. Many of these scenes are the basis for the movements in the current Ronggeng Gunung performance.
The third version is written by Yanti Heriyawati in her thesis entitled “Doger and Ronggeng, Two Faces of Women’s Dance in West Java”. This version states that the art of Ronggeng Gunung is closely related to the story of Dewi Samboja (www.korantempo.com). Dewi Samboja is the 38th daughter of King Siliwangi who is married to Angkalarang. It is said that one day, the husband of the Goddess, Angkalarang, was killed by Kalasamudra (a pirate leader from across the ocean). Dewi Samboja was very sad because her beloved husband had died and she was very angry with Kalasamudra who had killed her husband. To relieve his daughter’s sadness and anger at the death of Angkalarang, her father, namely Prabu Siliwangi, gave a wangsit to Dewi Samboja. The content of the idea is that in order to avenge the death of Angkalarang and kill Kalasamudra, Dewi Samboja must disguise herself as Nini Bogem, namely as a ronggeng flower dancer. And, based on that idea, Dewi Samboja began to learn ronggeng dance and martial arts. Long story short, the ronggeng performance at the Kalasamudra place took place. And, this means an opportunity for Dewi Samboja to avenge her husband’s death. It is said that when she had time to dance with him, Dewi Samboja realized her intention, so that a fight was unavoidable. The fight only ended when Dewi Samboja was able to kill him.
The fourth version is similar to the third version, only the storyline is different. In this version, the marriage between Dewi Siti Samboja and Raden Anggalarang, the son of Prabu Haur Kuning from the Galuh Kingdom, does not. approved by his father. To that end, the husband and wife set up a kingdom in Pananjung, which is an area that is now the Pananjung Nature Reserve in the Pangandaran tourist attraction. One time the kingdom was attacked by pirates led by Kalasamudra, resulting in a battle. However, because the battle was not balanced, Raden Anggarang finally died. However, his wife, Dewi Siti Samboja, managed to save herself and wandered off. In her odyssey full of suffering, the Goddess finally received the idea that her name be changed to Dewi Rengganis and disguised as Ronggeng. In the midst of her indescribable pain because her husband left her, Dewi Rengganis wandered from one place to another. Unknowingly, mountains have been climbed and valleys descended. However, in his eyes he still imagined how the people who were used as the foundation of his life had been killed by pirates and then his corpse was paraded and thrown into the Indian Ocean. The pain is expressed in the song entitled “Manangis”. Here is the verse.
Where is boboko flute
Teu kadeuleu-deuleu deui
Where are you kabooh kuring
Teu Kadeulu come deui
Long story short, the ronggeng performance finally arrived where Kalasamudra and Dewi Samboja could avenge the death of her husband by killing Kalasamudra while dancing together.
The story about the origin of the dance used for “revenge” makes Ronggeng Gunung seem to reek of death. It is said that in the past, the Galuh people who participated in the dance covered their faces with sarongs while luring their enemies to join the dance. Because their faces are covered with sheaths, so when their enemies are provoked and come to the center of the circle, a knife peeks out waiting for the right moment to be stabbed. In addition, in the past, the art of Ronggeng Gunung for the people of southern Ciamis, was not only a means of entertainment, but was also used as an introduction to traditional ceremonies such as harvesting, marriage, circumcision, and reception of guests. Given such a function, before the show begins, offerings are held for offerings to the ancestors and the spirits around the place where the dance is held, so that the show runs smoothly. The form of the offerings consists of pastries of seven kinds and seven colors, golden bananas, a mirror, a comb, and cigarettes are often found as a complement to the offerings.
For the record, in Sundanese mythology, Dewi Samboja or Dewi Rengganis is almost similar to Dewi Sri Pohaci which is always associated with farming activities. Therefore, the Ronggeng Gunung dance also symbolizes the activities of the Goddess in farming, starting from going down to the fields, planting rice, harvesting, until finally the after-harvest thanksgiving.
Players, Equipment and Performances
People who are members of the Ronggeng Gunung art group usually consist of six to ten people. However, it is also possible to exchange or borrow players from other groups. Usually, player borrowing occurs to obtain a singer-songwriter, which is a woman who is a bit older, but has a very impressive ability in terms of singing. He is in charge of performing certain songs that ordinary singers cannot perform. Meanwhile, the musical instruments used to accompany the Ronggeng Gunung dance are three taps, gongs and drums. For the record, to become a ronggeng in ancient times was not as easy as it is now. Some of the conditions that must be met include good body shape, being able to fast for 40 days where every iftar is only allowed to eat two plantains, breathing exercises to improve voice, physically and spiritually guided by experts. And, as a general rule, a ronggeng must not be bound by marriage. Therefore, a ronggeng dancer must be a girl or a widow.
Ronggeng Gunung dance can be held in the yard at the time of a wedding, circumcision or even in the huma (field), for example when it is needed for a plowing ceremony or planting rice fields. The duration of a Ronggeng Gunung performance usually takes quite a long time, sometimes it just ends before dawn.
The development of Ronggeng Gunung in the period from 1904 to 1945, there were many shifts in values in its presentation, for example in a respectful way which was originally by holding hands close to the chest instead of shaking hands. In fact, in the end, this way of shaking hands is widely misused, where male dancers or certain people not only shake hands but take further actions such as kissing, touching and so on. In fact, sometimes dancers can be taken to a quiet place. Because it was not in accordance with customs, in 1948 the art of Ronggeng Gunung was prohibited from being shown to the public. It was only in 1950 that the art of Ronggeng Gunung was revived with several updates, both in dance and in its organization so that the possibility of negative things could be avoided.
To prevent negative views of this almost extinct type of dance, regulations are applied that prohibit dancers and performers from making direct contact (touch). Some scenes that can lead to negative actions, such as kissing or holding dancers, are strictly prohibited. This regulation is a way to eliminate public views and assumptions that ronggeng is synonymous with women who like to seduce men.