Remo Dance : A Welcome Dance from East Java, Indonesia

Remo Dance is originally from Jombang, East Java. Initially this dance was used as an opening dance in ludruk performance. But, later this dance was performed separately as welcome dance for important guests, or performed in festival. This dance tells story about struggle of a prince in a battle field. Later, this dance is performed by women, and that there is a new kind of Remo dance, Remo Putri or women Remo or feminine Remo.

Music accompanies Remo dance is gamelan instrument consisting of bonang, bonang penerus, saron, gambang, gender, slenthem siter, suling/flute, kethuk, kenong, kempul, and gong. Rhyme played for the performance is Jula Juli and Tropongan, walangkekek, gedok Rancak, Krucilan or new musical instruments. In ludruk performance, dancers usually sing in the middle of their performance.

Remo means hair, as in Remo dance there are moves to play with hair, one of them is tatasan ure rekmo (disentangling hair). Remo derives from Javanese, remong means sampur as the moves are dominated by playing sampur.

Remo appeared in 1907 in a ludruk lerok, and reached its perfection in 1950s with the existence of ludruk.

Remo dance is characterized by the beat of the feet. Dancer wears small bells tied around the right foot ankle. The bells twinkle every time dancers walk or beats the floor with his or her right foot. The dance is also unique because of the head movement, sampur play, facial expression and postures of dancers.

Remo dancer costumes are various, namely : Sawunggaling, Surabayan, Malangan, and Jombangan. Surabayan costume consists of black upper outfit resembles that of eight century, res scarf worn around neck, a knee high velvet trousers knitted with golden thread and gems, batik wrapped around waist, hip and thigh, and it rumpled in the front, stagen belt and keris. A dancer wears two sampur, one won on the waist and the other worn on shoulders. The end of Sampur is hold by the right hand and the other end is by left hand. Surabaya costume resembles to that of Sawunggaling style, only the upper outfit is white with a tie. Malagan style resembles to Surabayan only the trousers are longer to the ankle and are not knitted with beads. Jombangan style is similar to Sawunggaling except dancers wear vest instead of white shirt. Recent Remo costumes are hard to differentiate for there are new creations of Remo costumes.

For feminin remo, dancer has a unique hair do and wears a black mekak to cover chest, a rapak to cover hi to the knee and sampur worn across the shoulders. Women remo dance costumes are various in style.