Cokek Dance, Original Betawi Culture from Jakarta

Betawi is one of the tribes which live in Jakarta. People say this is the native tribe of Jakarta. Actually, the Betawi tribe consists of some ethnic groups that joined together in one region and formed their own culture, namely Betawi culture. These ethnics groups have created a combination of the various ethnic groups, such as Sundanese, Javanese, Arabians, Chinese, Malayans, and Portuguese. Because of that, it is no wonder that there are disparate elements of various ethnic groups in Betawi art and culture.

Chinese culture appears in Cokek dance, one of Betawi arts. This dance was brought by a Chinese trader, Tan Sio Kek to Teluknaga, Tangerang, an area located in the west part of Jakarta, in the 19th century. The trader brought a two strings tambourine which was collaborated with local instruments such as flute, kempul or small gongs, gong, kecrek or a kind of percussion, and kendang or drum. The music which is a combination of arts from Mainland China and Tangerang is called Gambang Kromong. In the past, Cokek dance was performed by three women. Now, Cokek dance is often performed by at least five female dancers, and some men as musicians. The dancers wear kebaya, an Indonesian traditional long-sleeved blouse made from silk of various colors, such as green, red, yellow and purple, and have their hair braided or bun.

Today, Cokek is rarely performed in areas where many Betawi people live, even in Jakarta. But we still find Cokek dance in Benteng, Tangerang, when people hold a party. When the Cokek dance is performed in a wedding party, usually the dancer invites the groom to dance. And when Cokek dance is performed to welcome guests, usually the honored guest is invited to dance.

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