Gender and the Art of Dancing. One Thing that is Still Experiencing Inequality for Indonesian People

Gender Inequalities

Gender and the Art of Dancing. One Thing that is Still Experiencing Inequality for Indonesian People

Man dancer

Gender especially men in the art of Dancing. Of course we have all seen dances performed by men or a man being a dancer. However, did you know? That in fact there are still many Indonesian people who are close-minded because they often think that a man should not dance and dancing is a woman’s field. Even men who dance are often seen as “sissies” because they carry out graceful or feminist movements. In fact, many Indonesian cultural dances and modern dances have firm and strong movements.

In contrast to developed countries such as South Korea and the United States, whose people are more open-minded because they do not differentiate between gender in terms of art and culture. Many young people in the country express themselves in dancing and the community welcomes it. There is even such a thing as “Street Dance” which was first appeared and developed in New York, United States. Street dance is also known as vernacular dance. Vernacular dance more or less can be interpreted as using instinct. Furthermore, we can interpret this vernacular dance (Street dance) as a dance style that is not confined by one particular form and is free to move and express to the rhythm of the existing music.

So, does the art of dancing still have a gender bias? And should parents, especially parents in Indonesia, allow their children who have a passion for dancing to explore the art of dance? Let’s take a peek to the article below!

Gender Perspective

All gender have the same equal right

Gender is the construction and social order of the differences between the sexes which refers to social relations between women and men, or a socially or culturally determined trait. Starting from this term, an understanding of the division of roles between men and women socially and culturally emerged.

Gender roles are distinguished from nature, namely roles based on nature. Gender roles as culturally defined roles are open to exchange between men and women, while natural roles such as experiencing menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding for women are roles that cannot be exchanged because they have been like this since they were created. The term gender refers to social, cultural, and biological meanings.

Gender roles can change because they are influenced by ideology, economy, customs, religion, and socio-culture, ethnicity, time, place, and advances in science and technology. Gender differences will also be a problem if these differences result in inequality of treatment in society and injustice in rights and opportunities for both men and women.

Art of Dancing


Dance is a complete art form and belongs to the ‘performing arts’. The purpose of dance itself is as a means for humans, both men and women, to express their feelings, thoughts, and inner experiences. 

Dance is a natural form of self-expression, naturally the body and spirit express themselves. We are all creatures of free will, whatever our personal situation. Through dance, our bodies express how free we really are.

Dance is an art form in which human movement becomes a medium for feeling, understanding, and communicating ideas, feelings, and experiences. Dance has its own content, vocabulary, skills and techniques, which must be understood and applied to be proficient in the art. Simultaneously all these elements are present in a dance or even in a short movement phrase.

The dance itself is divided into various types based on the choreography, namely traditional dances, new creation dances, contemporary dances, and modern dances. Each of these dances has its own characteristics depending on what dance will be performed. So not all dances use graceful movements.

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Types of Dance based on the choreography

Traditional dance

is a type of dance that is passed down from generation to generation. Traditional dances are usually so complex, philosophical, and so religious that many people fail to understand them. All the rules in traditional dance, such as movement, formation, clothing, and make-up have certain rules or rules and do not change much.

In Indonesia, which consists of thousands of islands, tribes, ethnicities, and races, of course, there are so many traditional dances as well. But what you need to know, there are also dances from Indonesia that bring strong and agile movements which are certainly suitable for male dancers. The dances consists of:

The Kecak Dance


is a traditional dance from the area of ​​Bali. Generally performed by dozens of male dancers who sit in a circle, raise both hands, and shout “Cak”. Of course the movement is strong and very agile. This dance tells the profound story of the Ramayana. In the book Diversity of Nusantara Dance, Resi Septiana Dewi, it is explained that the dancers wear Balinese cloth with a checkered pattern like a chessboard that is placed on the waist. Some dancers also play characters such as Rama, Shinta, Ravana to Hanoman.

Indang Sarasa dance


is a traditional dance originating from the Minang community, Pariaman, West Sumatra province. This dance is actually a game of musical instruments performed together. The name Indang comes from the name of a musical instrument called pat, this instrument is a musical instrument used to accompany this dance. Indang is an instrument that is played by tapping and has elements of the beauty of dance. The strong, agile, and dynamic movements of the dancers make this Indang dance much in demand by foreign people.

Jaipong dance


is a regional dance originating from Karawang, West Java which developed in the 60s. At first, the jaipong dance was known as the Banjet dance, a dance performance performed with dance movements accompanied by music with gamelan instruments as accompaniment. Jaipong dance is an innovation made by an artist from Karawang, and is a combination of pencak silat, wayang golek, banjet masks, tap tilu, tarling, and tepak masks. This dance used to be used as people’s entertainment.

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The new creation dance

is a type of dance that is free from dance standards. The dance is designed according to the dance stylist’s creations according to the conditions, while maintaining its artistic value. Creative dance, both as a main performance and as a background dance, continues to grow with various musical accompaniments, so that the term modern dance appears. Some new dance creations that are suitable for men:

Baris dance


is a type of traditional war dances from Bali accompanied by gamelan. This dance depicts the feelings of a young hero before he goes to war, hailing the masculinity of the Balinese hero and demonstrating the strength of his leadership.

Gandrung Gatotkaca dance


is a type of rhythmic movement art that tells about the romance of the famous puppet character, Gatotkaca. Gandrung is a Javanese language which means “dear”. This type of dance is taken from the puppet story of Gatotkaca which shows the romantic attitude of the Bima son of the knight.

Bambangan Cakil Dance


This dance is played by 2 male dancers who play the character of a knight and a giant, This dance tells the story of the war between good and evil, where the knight takes on the role of Arjuna as a good figure and the giant cakil as an evil figure.

Contemporary dance

Is a dance movement symbolic contemporary that relates to storytelling choreography with a unique and interpretive style. It takes special insight to enjoy it. In fact, sometimes it takes discussion to understand the meaning. The accompaniment used is also a lot of unusual, for example songs from simple ones to using computer music programs such as Fruityloops. Here are some contemporary dances from Indonesia.

The Joking Devil dance


The Joking Devil dance or “Tari Setan Bercanda” is played by five to six men wearing leaves. This dance uses simple musical accompaniment, namely musical instruments that come from rocks and bamboo shards. The Joking Demon Dance was created by I Wayan Dibia. Broadly speaking, this dance depicts several demons who are the subordinates of Ratu Gede Macaling, dancing at midnight to spread disease.

Cak Rina dance

Bali Art Festival 2019

The Cak Rina dance was created by a contemporary Indonesian dance leader, Sardono W. Kusumo. This dance is one of the dance arts that started the emergence of modern Balinese contemporary dance. Sardono together with his young artist friend from Taman Ismail Marzuki Jakarta, introduced the concept of movement and new story ideas for Subali-Sugriwa.

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Modern dance

is a dance that expresses human emotions freely or every dancer is free in realizing his emotional expression that is not related by a standard form. Modern dance was developed in the early 20th century. Indonesian modern dance is often featured in the Indonesian entertainment and performance industry. Here are some modern dances that are usually performed by men.



is a combination of elements consisting of rapping, DJ, breakdancing, and graffiti, even the development of the world has also colored it such as beatboxing, fashion, slang, etc. Although hip-hop is a cultural movement that has grown in Latin American society, other countries in the world are also influential, including Indonesia. Hip-hop dancers are estimated to have developed in the world since the 1980s and the world’s most famous hip-hop dancer is Michael Jackson.



is a modern dance that contains elements of acrobatics and gymnastics, combined in such a way as to produce various complex body movements, where not just anyone can do it well because it is very risky if the movement fails. The accompaniment music is also special, namely the flow of hip hop music with a beat (rhythm) that is broken so it is called a break beat. This type of music was created by a DJ (disc jockey) named Koll Herc, who uses break beat music as a source of inspiration for breakers to create attractive and unique styles. Breaker, Breakdancer, B-boy (break boy), and B-girl (break girl) are names for breakdancing actors.

Those are some types of dances in terms of choreography that come from Indonesian and foreign cultures which can be performed by men. Therefore, it can be said that dancing is not a culture that has a gender bias, because dancing is a universal thing for everyone to express theirself. Movements in dancing are also not every time as gentle or graceful, but there is also a lively and strong dance that only men can do.

So, for all parents, if your son have a talent or hobby in dancing, give him a supportive space and environment so he can develop his talents and try to remove the stigma that all dancing men are sissies or dance only for women. That’s all from this article. Sampai Jumpa!

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