sardulo nareswari PKM UNAIR
Members of the women reog community "Sardulo Nareswari", after the practice, with the "Dadak Merak" at the back. (Photo: Dok PKMP-SH)
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UNAIR NEWS – Innovation in the field of arts towards something unique creates  new potential of cultural and economic tourism. Reog art is synonymous with men, but with the intention of empowering women, in Sawoo Village, Sawoo Subdistrict, Ponorogo Regency a female reog arts group called “Sardulo Nareswari” was established.

It attracted the attention of PKM Team (Student Creativity Program for Humanities Social Research (PKMP-SH) Universitas Airlangga. The team are Fajri Kurniararasanty, Gita Ayu Cahyaningrum, Isnaini Nur Amalina, students of History Department, Faculty of Humanities UNAIR. They wanted to reveal more about Ponorogo reog arts from the other side, women potential.

The PKMP-SH team, headed by Fajri Kurniararasanty, wrote “Paguyuban Sardulo Nareswari: Women in Reog Ponorogo Arts, Dance Among Domination and Diversity.” This manuscript has successfully passed the funding selection in Kemenristekdikti PKM Program in 2018.

Speaking of reog arts, people will remember Ponorogo. Fajri and friends believes that Ponorogo is a city that has uniqueness in its performing arts. Moreover, reog became one of the internationally recognized cultural heritage and became an icon of the city called ” Reog Land”.

“Writing about Reog Ponorogo, there are apparent interests various parties for the sake of the arts itself. And reog is in the complexity of conflict among the people of Ponorogo, “added Fajri.

As we all know, reog performances are presented in the form of dances, a dramatic dance without dialogue. The movements are expected to present the message and theme of the dance. However, it is usually performed by male except jathilan dance by women.

In history, jathilan dance was originally performed by men dressed as women. This is a representation of gemblak, a teenage nurtured the Warok as kelangenan (his favorite), as an effort to maintain his supernatural powers. But because the gemblak figure was not in accordance with religious norms, Ponorogo regency in 1985 made a policy and change jathilan to be performed by female dancers. The shift of jathil dancers maintained until now.

In this regard, Fajri and friends were challenged to know further from the perspective of women. In addition, cultural challenges in society also still position women below men.

“We want to examine women’s lives in the world of arts, because arts and women are an ambivalence that raises two different views in society. One side of women is considered as a victim of exploitation, on the other women in traditional arts are considered to break men’s domination, “said Fajri.

Members of the women’s reog community “Sardulo Nareswari”. (Photo: Doc PKMP-SH)

Economic & Tourism Potential

Women’s reog community “Sardulo Sareswari” was established with the intention to empower women in Sawoo Village. According to Heni Astuti, the founder of this community,  it was established to make a new breakthrough in Reog Ponorogo arts.

According to Heni Astuti, “Sardulo Sareswari” has its own philosophical meaning. Sardulo means tiger, while Nareswari means female or angel. If all this time reog is usually performed by male, this new innovation wants to give different performance.

The establishment of the “Sardulo Nareswari” community has brought an impact on Sawoo Village’s women and surrounding communities. This community has performed several times in various regions, not only in Ponorogo, but also outside Ponorogo.

The stigma in society which states women only konco wingking is eroded by the existence of this women’s reog movement. There is also value ​​of self-reliance in women in Sawoo Village. This is proven by the increasing number of women contributing outside housewives work.

According to Fajri and friends’, if this community developed further, it will be able to provide new cultural tourism potential for Ponorogo regency, especially Sawoo Village. This women’s reog community can be one of the new icons and identity of Ponorogo, especially the art of reog which has been performed by men.

“This new cultural tourism attraction is able to attract the attention of the people because it has uniqueness of a performing arts. Moreover, the performance of this female reog can encourage economic growth among the people and increase the income of Ponorogo regency, “said Fajri Kurniararasanty and friends in his PKMP-SH study. (*)

Editor: Bambang Bes

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