Yogya, Jogjatrip.com – On Monday (4/24), an oglek performance was displayed at the “Gelar Kesenian Tradisional” (“Traditional Art Festival”) in the yard of Taman Budaya Yogyakarta (TBY). Compared to jathilan, this dance is more dynamic in nature thus seems more “violent". Hundreds of people that amassed around the stage closed their ears every now and then while the performers’ bodies got lashed, which was part of the entertainment.
The oglek performers that day came from Tuksono village, Taruban Wetan, Kulon Progo. Upon the stage, 4 main dancers were portraying the war between Sutawijaya and Arya Penangsang. In yellow wardrobes, they rode bamboo-plaited horses and got trance, or as the pawang (kind of sorcerer) said¸ got possessed by spirits he sent. They did not feel the pain when whipped. “No, they don’t get hurt,” said Sudiwiyono (63), the pawang who acted also as the group leader, to Jogjatrip after the show.
According to Sudiwiyono, for every oglek performance there must be a special ritual in his village. The offerings, called ubarampe, such as cone-shaped rice, traditional snacks, seven kinds of porridges, fried chicken, and certain flowers should be prepared. “This art has been passed on for generations and I’ve been in charge since 1955,” said Sudiwiyono who was at the time wearing red and white stripped Maduran t-shirt.
An oglek show never changes its story, which is the Sutawijaya-Arya Penangsang battle. In fact, it cannot be changed. "If I alter the story, it will be like a contemporary dance. This does not comply with the tradition,” said the father of three who would work in farms when not having a show.
Oglek has been performed in various places, like in TIM, Jakarta, but to Sudiwiyono, performing in Yogya is particularly fun. He does not expect money from it and if there is some payment, he will put it in the group’s treasury. “The truth is, I often have to sponsor this activity by my own purse,” he said.
A full oglek comprises 5 scenes and takes 3 hours to finish. What they put on the TBY show was only the first scene, taking 45 minutes. The oglek from Tuksono is just one of many similar groups in Kulon Progo. They currently have 50 members. “Most of the main dancers are 45-50 years old. The younger generations will only play the escort role for the time being,” said Sudiwiyono.***(Teguh R. Asmara)