Yapong Dance

Yapong dance is one of the traditional art forms of movement originating from Betawi. For those of us who are not familiar with the types of dances, we may equate the yapong dance with the jaipong dance, even though the two are different.

One of the main differences is the history of the creation of dance. Historically, the Yapong Betawi dance originated from an entertainment dance which was originally created as a type of performance dance. However, along with the times and people’s interest in this dance, this dance has changed from a contemporary dance to a social dance to fill various events with various variations.


The yapong dance movement was only formed in 1977. This dance is still relatively new when compared to other traditional regional dances that have been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years. The initial performance of the yapong dance was carried out when the capital city of Jakarta was commemorating its 450th anniversary, to be precise on 20 and 21 June 1977 at the Senayan Convention Center.

The idea of ​​the dance performance was an initiative of the DKI Culture Office which was realized by Bagong Kussdiarjo, a great artist at that time. He raised the story of the struggle of Prince Jayakarta as the background for the choreography of the yapong dance.

This dance movement is not made arbitrarily, because it has been through research and observation of the Betawi people’s culture. At the beginning of the performance, there were approximately 300 artists consisting of dancers and musicians in this ballet activity.

Yapong Dance Development

Yapong dance is a type of ballet at the beginning of its appearance. Ballet is an artistic performance that combines dance and drama that does not have dialogue in a single unit during the performance.

In this ballet, the female dancers are told to rejoice in welcoming the arrival of Prince Jayakarta. The audience gave appreciation and positive response to this part because the movement was very interesting. Then this part is deliberately separated from the series of ballet and is staged in the form of its own dance.

Furthermore, this task was assigned to the staging director, named Bagon Kussudiarjo, who made the part worthy of being performed independently. Starting from that, the Yapong dance is often performed in traditional events, art performances, and people’s parties as one of the Betawi cultural heritages.

The name Yapong dance comes from the combination of the voices of the dancers and the accompanying music. When performing the dance the dancers will shout “yes…yes…yes…” and the sound of gamelan sounds “pong…pong…pong…”. For this reason, the name “yapong” was given to the dance.

So this also answers the question of whether there is a relationship between yapong and jaipong dances. Because the two are not related at all.

Cultural Acculturation

Yapong dance is a dance created in the modern era by prioritizing elements of Betawi culture. Yapong dance is the embodiment of cultural acculturation. The following are the things that form the basis for the formation of the yapong dance movement, namely:

1. Yapong Comes From Contemporary Dance

Pop flow is one of the everyday elements that are included in the yapong dance. For example, the movement rests on the hands and feet.

The yapong dancers display happy facial expressions to show their joy based on the story depicted in the form of a dance. The joy was in order to welcome the arrival of Prince Jayakarta, a hero who was very close to the Betawi people during the colonial period.

Yapong dance is included in contemporary dance because it is not tied to the standard like other traditional dances. So that the resulting movements look dynamic and the movements of the dancers are carried out quickly.

The art of dance from yapong to keni continues to develop and there are many variations. It can even be said that in every performance there are differences in dance movements, although the theme that is carried remains the same.

2. Mix of Betawi and Sumatran Traditional Dances

Various elements of traditional dances such as Betawi and Malay (Sumatra) dances are included in the yapong movement. These elements make the yapong dance rich in pop influences.

This can be seen from the simple dance movements with high dynamics. The feet, hands and hips of the dancers move by adopting other traditional dances combined with pop dances.

3. Dancer’s Clothing Similar to Traditional Dress

At first glance, the clothes of the yapong dancers are like the flower mask dance clothes which also come from Betawi. The color of the costume is bright and the details of the accessories are the same. There are decorations that cover the head and toka-toka or scarf to cover the dancer’s chest.

There is even an element of Chinese culture in the clothes of the yapong dancers, namely the red dragon motif. This motif is also known to be used in Chinese opera performances.

4. Accompaniment Musical Instruments

The rhythmic music originating from the gamelan is the background for the yapong dance. The traditional musical instruments consist of Betawi gamelan, Central Javanese gamelan, and West Javanese gamelan. After the yapong dance separated from the ballet series, Betawi musical instruments became increasingly popular among the public.

Yapong Dance as Indonesian Culture

In Jakarta, which is the area of ​​the Betawi Tinggil community, Yapong dance is often found on various occasions. For example in Betawi traditional ceremonies, cultural performances, and folk parties.

In every show there is almost always a difference with changes or additions to new movements. The difference is not a problem because in fact the Yapong dance is not a traditional dance that has certain rules or standards. Learning from this, we should be proud of the original Indonesian culture which complements each other and is flexible in adapting to modern culture.

Yapong dance can also be said as a culture created from the daily life of the Betawi people. Therefore, it does not matter if you get influence from other Indonesian cultures compared to foreign cultures.

In the younger generation, it is necessary to continue to inculcate Indonesian culture which is so diverse and must be proud of. Including the Yapong dance which comes from the acculturation of Betawi culture as the main element and other cultures.

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