The Bedhaya Court Dances of Central Java. Clara Brakel-Papenhuijzen.

The Bedhaya Court Dances of Central Java

Brill Academic Publishers. 6.25 x 9.25", 349 pp., 24 plates, 3 in color, cloth, Leiden, 1992. Item #12330
ISBN: 9004094245

The ritual bedhaya dances of the Central Javanese courts form a highly valued expression of Javanese culture. These stately dance forms, comprising complex choreographies executed to the accompaniment of archaic songs and gamelan music, are part of the cultural tradition of the Mataram dynasty. They have been preserved in the two main court centres of Central Java: Surakarta and Yogyakarta.

The contents of the book range from a relatively general introduction to a detailed analysis of structural, formal features of the dances. Included are theories on the origin, social context and esoteric meaning, as well as 19th and 20th century scores of performances.

The two main components of the art form, choral singing and group dancing, have each been discussed in a separate chapter. A number of song texts and choreographies, transcribed from palace manuscripts, are published for the first time. These songs represent an archaic singing style, which holds important information on the development of Javanese vocal and instrumental music.

An analysis of bedhaya choreographies which are seldom performed nowadays may serve to prevent the impending disappearance of this beautiful and stylized art form.

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