Peacock Dance: History, Meaning, Characteristics, Costumes, and Movements

January 21,2023

Peacock dancer photo by pinterest

Merak Dance – Indonesia has many cultures including dances. The arts of dances in each region also have their own characteristics, so you can say that one regional dance with another regional dance has differences. One of the Indonesian dance arts is the peacock dance, which is a beautiful dance from West Java.

 This dance is a dance of a new creation inspired by the life of a peacock. This is also shown in several dance moves by dancers imitating the behavior of peacocks.

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 Peacock dance was introduced to the art scene more broadly by a Sundanese artist named Reade Tjetjep Soemantri. Peacock dance is included in modern or contemporary dance, in which every movement in this dance is created freely with its own creations. The Merak dance itself is not a traditional or classical dance, but because of its beauty, this dance is able to become the pride of the people of Indonesia, especially West Java. Check out the full explanation of the Peacock Dance below.

 List of contents

 History of the Peacock Dance

 The Intangible Cultural Heritage Peacock Dance

 The Meaning and Philosophy of the Peacock Dance

 Peacock Dance Function

 Characteristics and Characteristics of the Peacock Dance:

 1. Dancer's costume or clothing

 2. The movement follows the behavior of real peacocks

3.Performed in pairs

 Form of Presentation of Peacock Dance

 Peacock Dance Costumes and Properties

 Head Section

 1. Crown

 2. Sumping

 3. Earring (earring)

 4. Bun decoration

 Body Parts

 1.Chest Cover

 2. Apr

 3. Wings or tail

 Low part

 1. Skirt

 2. Bracelet and Shoulder Flash

 Basic Peacock Dance Movement

 1. Galleries

 2. Crazy

 3. Ukel

 4. South

 5. Shoulder Tap

 6. Champagne

 7. Nyawang

 8. Lontang Right and Left

 9. Sit Deku

 10. Seser

 11. Sirig

 Peacock Dance Movement

 Peacock Dance Floor Pattern

 1. Circular Floor Pattern

 2. Horizontal floor pattern

 3.Diagonal floor pattern


 Books Related to Regional Dances

 Material Related to Regional Dances

 History of the Peacock Dance

 The Merak dance was created around the 1950s by artists and dance choreographers from West Java.The origin of the peacock dance is from the Sunda region of West Java.The artist and choreographer who created this dance is named Raden Tjetjep Soemantri. He took the beautiful movements of the peacock and turned them into a beautiful dance as well. Of the many dances created by Raden Tjetje Soemantri, this dance has reached an international level. The art of this dance is taken from the behavior of male peacocks when they want to attract female peacocks. One of the beautiful movements shown is the movement of the male peacock showing the beauty of his tail feathers.

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 This movement has the goal of attracting the attention of the female peacock. Along with the development of the times, this dance also experienced a change in motion from its original motion. In this peacock dance performance, it is done in pairs. Each dancer has their own role, some act as peacocks and some act as peacocks. Every movement of the dancers is also accompanied by traditional music called gending macan ucul.

 The beautiful accompaniment of the gamelan gives the dancers the tempo to move their bodies gracefully like the everyday behavior of peacocks. This movement is also very beautiful and enchanting. The audience will be captivated by the cheerful and special atmosphere. Therefore, this dance is also widely performed at national and even international events.

 Peacock Dance Peacock Dance Intangible Cultural Heritage

Merak dancer group photo by gramedia

  •  The peacock dance is an intangible cultural heritage originating from West Java which was inaugurated in 2020.
  •  Since its creation, Tjetje's peacock dance has only been performed five times, namely:
  •  In a series of activities at the 1955 Asian-African Conference in the backyard of the Pakuan building.
  •  In 1955 at the Orient Hotel Bandung. In 1957 in order to welcome the presence of Voroshilof, namely the president of the USSR (Russia) in the Pakan building.
  •  At the Savoy Homann hotel in 1958.
  •  In 1958 in a performance from YPK.

 After the death of Raden Tjetje Somantri in 1963, Irawati Durban as her student perfected the peacock dance order created by Tjetje by reworking the choreographic structure of the dance.The latest fashion peacock dance is a dance that follows its own flow according to the theme of what is believed to be good, meaning there is no pressure and it flows by itself.

 The Meaning and Philosophy of the Merak Dance

 Every art, especially dance, must have a meaning and philosophy in it. This peacock dance depicts the behavior of a male peacock when approaching a female peacock. This movement shows the male peacock's efforts to make the female accept his love by showing off the beautiful colors of his tail feathers.

 In this case, the meaning is displayed or shown through gentle, flexible and agile movements that attract the attention of the audience. Thanks to this meaning and philosophy, the peacock dance is sometimes used as a dance to welcome the groom to the aisle at wedding ceremonies.

 The function of the Peacock Dance

 Usually, the peacock dance is often performed at welcoming guests. Even so, the peacock dance also functions as an entertainment dance and a performer for community events. 

  The following are the functions of the peacock dance, 

  • Peacock dance is a dance from West Java which is usually used to receive guests at weddings. 
  •  The peacock dance is used to welcome the groom's entourage to the aisle.
  • When there is a visit from important guests, this dance is also used for welcoming.

 Characteristics and Characteristics of the Peacock Dance:

 Each regional dance certainly has its own characteristics and characteristics, including the peacock dance. This dance has characteristics and characteristics that distinguish it from other dances. This can be seen from the dancers' movements, properties, and unique presentation. 

 The characteristics and features of the peacock dance are as follows:

1.Professional dancer outfits or clothes

The outfit or clothes of the professional dancers in the peacock dancing is designed such as a peacock complete with its feathers. This is displayed in the use blue, green, and black as a characteristic of the peacock itself. The dancer's outfit is also equipped with wings that can be spread out. Aside from that, the is also equipped with a crown. The movement complies with the habits of the real peacock.

2.The movements of the peacock professional dancers follow as long as feasible the habits of the man peacock when coming close to the female peacock. After that, the movements were performed with dignity.

3.Performed in sets

In his look, the peacock dancing is performed in sets as a sign in between the the peacock and peacock.

4.Form of Discussion of Peacock Dancing

In look, the peacock dancing is played in teams by 3 or more professional dancers. These professional dancers will each play the role of female peacocks and man.

In this dancing, the accompaniment of the tune played is a leopard. Aside from that, there's also the use waditra bonang interludes where the timber is hit hard. Giving waditra is done particularly when the professional dancers perform the movements of a set of peacocks production out. The outfits for peacock dancing professional dancers are typically green, blue and black, just like the shades of peacocks.

Devices that draw in attention are a set of wings that resemble a peacock's wings or a peacock's tail that's broadening and its complement is a crown on the as in various other dancings, the peacock dancing also has props used and outfits. The purpose of this equipment is of course to perfect the choreography later on throughout the efficiency.

In this peacock dancing, the property on the

isn't just the crown, but there are several various other residential or commercial homes, consisting of:


The kind of crown that's usually used is called siger. This crown is composed of various devices that are very unique. After that, the crown is decorated with knick-knacks and bangles in various shades. When the efficiency starts, the crown will shine on the because of the lights.


Susumping is a residential or commercial property of lines that produces a peacock feather motif which is put in the center by inserting it.

Susumping is used cow natural leather which has light green, silver, dark green and gold yellow shades.

3.Jewelry (earring)

Peacock dancing professional dancers will wear earrings in the ears. The form of this jewelry is a circle and has curved lines. The form of the jewelry resembles a blossom that's decorated with gems and the color is gold.

4.Bun design

On the rear of the hair, the professional dancer will be provided a device called Garuda Mungkur. These devices are used just on man peacock professional dancers. These devices form a peacock sculpting.

Body Components

For the body there are 3 equipment, consisting of:

1.Breast Cover

The peacock professional dancers wear a breastplate made of a fabric just like a kemben. How to use this cloth by wrapping it about the dancer's body from the breast to the stomach. The color of the cloth differs inning accordance with the needs. Additionally, this breastplate is equipped with a drawstring, so it does not droop.


The dancer's neck is protected with apok whose form is round and lengthy. This apok is shaped such as a pendant used by professional dancers to cover the neck to the breast. The function of this property is to earn it easier for professional dancers to earn movements. This apok design has an extremely beautiful motif.

3.Wings or tail

The property of wings or tail is characteristic of this dancing. Unlike various other dancings that use headscarfs. In the peacock dancing, the cloth will be made as comparable as feasible, so that the form looks like wings. This component is the highlight of the peacock professional dancer outfit. This peacock's wings have colorful accessories and patterns that appearance very beautiful.

Additionally, in this area there's also a belt that has a function as a cover for the midsection and sampur. The property of the peacock's wings outfit is a sign of coolness and success. After that, the tail of the peacock dancing is put behind the dancer's back which is lengthy up to the ankle joints and completion of the tail outfit is gotten in touch with a small rope to earn it easier for the professional dancers to expand the tail property as if it were such as a peacock.

Reduced component

The lower residential or commercial homes of the peacock dancing consist of:


Near the bottom of the peacock dancing, use a skirt-shaped outfit whose motif suits the top. The dancer's skirt is provided devices and knick-knacks portraying peacock feathers.

2.Arm band and Shoulder Blink

On the legs there will be arm bands and shoulder flashes which are used as sustaining devices.

Basic Movements of the Peacock Dancing If you're interested in learning the peacock dancing, after that you can learn the basic movements that include hand, sampuran movements and foot. For more information, here are the basic peacock dancing movements that you need to know.


Galier is a motion that requires the professional dancer to transform his go to the right, left, back and front.


Gilek is a motion that requires the professional dancer to tremble his go to the right and to the left.


Ukel is a hand movement in the peacock dancing which is performed flexibly when turning the hand inning accordance with the rhythm of the accompaniment songs.


Selut is a movement of the hand to the right and to the left together with the movement of pushing the hand forward or up according to the rhythm alternately.

5.Shoulder Tap

 The tapping movement is the movement of the dancer when he taps the shoulder with one hand. Shoulder tapping is done with crossed arms in two hand rotations.


 Capang is the movement of the peacock dancer when one hand is bent


 Nyawang is a hand gesture from the dancer showing the audience that the dancer is looking far ahead

8.Lontang Right and Left

 Lontang right or Lontang left is the movement of the dancer's hands using both hands to alternately move each other.

9.Sit Deku

 Sitting Deku is a panri movement that sits cross-legged or folds its legs down.


 Seser is a leg movement that requires the panri to shift his feet to the right and left


 Sirig is the movement of the dancer's feet when shaking both legs together.

 Peacock Dance Movement

 If previously discussed the basic movements of the peacock dance, below are some of the applications of the basic movements into beautiful movements.

  1. The legs are moved like they are pawing the ground, while shaking their heads like peacocks. 
  2.  The position of the hands is by the side of the body and the fingers hold the shawl in the shape of peacock wings. 
  3.  Several times the hands swung back and forth.
  4.  Shoulders move forward and backward. When doing a squatting body position and both hands are placed at the top. 
  5. Movement of the body back and forth, while paying attention to the tempo of the song. If the song is fast, the body moves faster, when it slows down, the body will also slow down.
  6.  The shawl of the wings is stretched as if opening the wings of a peacock. Done simultaneously by lifting both heels and walking two feet.
  7.  Still in a walking position by lifting your heels, raise your hands up, while your left hand is straightened down. Do it alternately with the Peacock Dance .
Floor Pattern

 In the peacock dance performance, there are various floor patterns and they do not consist of one type. Some floor patterns to choose from are curved line patterns and straight line patterns.

1.Circular Floor Pattern

 The circular floor pattern is one part of the curved line floor pattern. In the peacock dance, this floor pattern is done in a circle and facing outward.

2.Horizontal floor pattern

 In addition to using a circular floor pattern, the peacock dance also uses a horizontal floor pattern. The horizontal pattern is by lifting the left hand up and the right hand down.

3.Diagonal floor pattern

 The last floor pattern is a diagonal floor pattern, in this floor pattern, dancers will move in a transverse formation from the lower left corner to the upper right corner and vice versa. Usually this floor pattern is done face to face.


 So, that's the discussion about the peacock dance, from its history to its movements. As Indonesian citizens, we should preserve the existing dances and become a cultural heritage so that they don't disappear or disappear with time. That way, Indonesian dances can continue to exist or not be claimed by other countries.


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