War Dance from West Papua: Tribute to the Heroes and Ancestors

War Dance from West Papua: Tribute to the Heroes and Ancestors

West Papua keeps the beauty that cannot be described with words. You must come to this region and witness the local wisdom. You do have to travel a long way but you do not have to worry because your trip will feel comfortable. The Indonesian government has built airports for foreign and local tourists who wish to visit the region. You just have to sit comfortably in your seat and land safely at this airport. You must be prepared to start an exciting adventure in West Papua. One of the beautiful things that should not be missed in this region is the traditional dance. All regions in Indonesia have a unique traditional dance. The dance has many goals. The public will welcome tourists to the dance but religious events also use this dance to offerings to the gods. One of the famous dances in West Papua is the War Dance. The following is a complete explanation of this dance.

What is War Dance?

War Dance is one of the traditional dances originating from the area of West Papua. This dance depicts the soul of heroism and valor of Papuan society. Usually, this dance is performed by male dancers dressed in customs and carrying arrows as a dancing attribute. War Dance is one of the most well-known traditional dances in West Papua and is often featured in various events such as entertainment, traditional events, and culture.

History of War Dance

In ancient times this dance was performed by the people of West Papua who became warriors. The soldiers will dance before going to the battlefield. Historical records say that in ancient times tribes in this region often fought with other tribes. One of the major events was the tribal war in Sentani. Each tribe will perform this dance to arouse the courage of the soldiers who will fight another tribe. This dance is also used to describe the spirit to the soldiers. Now the tribal war no longer exists so the dance serves as a welcome dance for guests and dance performances at cultural festivals.

Functions and Meaning of War Dance

War Dance is often done by the people of Papua before going to the battlefield this dance function has changed due to the times. This is a welcoming dance and show. The meaning of this dance is a tribute to the heroes and ancestors who have fought and defended the homeland from the invader’s attack. When viewed in terms of performances, then this dance also describes the courage, valor and the heroism of the people of Papua.

War Dance Show

Usually, this dance performed by male dancers in groups. The number of dancers in this dance consists of 7 dancers or more. The dancers will dance wearing traditional dress and bring arrows as an attribute of the show. This dance is accompanied by the sound of drums of traditional music and rebounds of war songs. The dancers will dance with a unique and passionate movement like the warrior who will go to war. Movement in this dance looks very unique, varied and full of energy. Movement of this dance will be dominated by hand movements that play arrows. The left-hand holds an arrow bow and the right-hand carry the arrow. Foot movements swing forward and leg movements cross. This dance is divided into several parts. Each part has a special meaning.

This dance is accompanied by drums of traditional music such as drums and wind instruments like shells. The rhythm of this dance is a vigorous rhythm of war. This dance is also accompanied by chant or song cheers that describe the spirit of the soldiers before going against the enemy on the battlefield.

War Dance Costume

The dancers wear traditional Papuan dress. Clothing consists of skirts made of roots and leaves that are placed on the waist of the dancers. Dancers should use a typical Papuan headband. These dance accessories consist of necklaces made of beads and bracelets made of feathers. The dancers’ bodies will be painted with typical Papuan motifs.

The Development of War Dance

This dance is still preserved by the people of West Papua until now. People add variety and creations to this dance. The companion music also has some minor changes to an interesting show. The costumes of the dancers have also changed so the costumes look beautiful. This is done so that this dance looks interesting but does not leave the authenticity of this dance. War Dance is also often featured in various events such as welcoming important guests, custom events, and entertainment events. War Dance is also often featured in various cultural events such as performing arts, cultural festivals, and tourism promotions. This is done by the Papuan people to preserve and introduce this dance to the younger generation and society.

Dance is a legacy that is more valuable than money so this dance will continue to be preserved by this nation. There are many cultural events abroad that give appreciation for traditional dances from Indonesia. This is proof that other nations admire the culture and art of the Indonesian nation.