The Gambyong Dance (Tari Gambyong) is a highly popular traditional dance in Java. It was created and developed by the lower class people of Java, however it was later adopted by the nobility and other communities and societies from higher classes.
It was said that the Gambyong Dance was developed from the Tayub or Tledhek dances. The name ‘Gambyong’ itself came from a dancer’s name, her name was Gambyong and she was a Tledhek dancer who everyone admired. She lived during the era of Sunan (King) Paku Buwono IV of Surakarta.
The Gambyong Dance was widely developed during the time of Sunan (King) Paku Buwono IX (1861-1893). In 1950, Gambyong Pareanom, a new type of Gambyong was born. Other Gambyong types include Gambyong Pangkur, Gambyong Gambirsawit, and Gambyong Mudhatama (pictured on the left, being performed by a student of ISI Surakarta – Indonesian Institute of the Arts, Widie Koentari).
Since it was adopted by the higher class, the Gambyong dance began to be used as a welcome dance for honoured guests. This dance is highly popular due to its aesthetic beauty, eroticism, and the liveliness of the dancers. It’s very Javanese and very down-to-earth.
I am a dancer, but I am hopeless at dancing the Gambyong Dance. I’d love to learn more about it.
To watch a Gambyong Pareanom video, click here.