From enchanting waters overlooking the capital city of Makassar up into the highland of Toraja, South Sulawesi is a land blessed with intriguing splendors. While character provides the preferences which are magnificent, the native people presents an equally fascinating culture. Among the well preserved cultural traditions of South Sulawesi take shape from the Pakarena Dance. Originated from the older sultanate of Gowa in today’s Gowa regency, Pakarena has been said to be derived from the term karena, meaning to Play, in the local language. The dance seems to have been spread widely throughout the area, thus several variations are located based on location.
Amongst these are PakarenaGantarang, PakarenaBallaBulo and PakarenaBontobangung. The dance also varies in compliance with the kind of functionality. Among them are the PakarenaRoyongwhich is rigorously conducted during ritual ceremonies, as well as the Pakarena bone balloon that may be carried out at anytime. Pakarena conveys the elegance of the Makassar cultural girls representing their politeness, devotion, obedience and respect towards their partners. The dance consists of 12 parts which have their own different meanings, but they are hard to distinguish by untrained eyes, because the patterns appear to be comparable. The seated posture which starts and ends the operation, and also the clock clever movement is the cycle of human existence.
While the ascending and descending movements symbolize the wheel of existence, sometimes we are in the top, while at other times we are down. In most of the choreographies, the dancers hold and play the different traditional fans. The dance has a distinctive principle: the dancers should not open their eyes too wide and their feet shouldn’t be lifted too large. There are no definite rules on the number of actors, but PakarenaBallaBulo is only played in odd numbers of 9, 7 or 5. The dance is accompanied by the colorful music played by a set of percussion Gendang, kanong, gong, kancing, and pui.
For the operation, dancers wear colorful traditional costumes consisting of: the hands woven Baju Pahang, the finely woven lipasabe, complemented by intricate golden accessories in South Sulawesi. There are no official records when the first time the dance was appeared. Nevertheless, it is known that Pakarena was formal imperial dance through the reign of Sultan Hasanudin, the sixteenth Sultan of Gowa. The dance is believed to have been affected by the mother of the Sultan, I Li’mokantu. Many Makassarese considers that Pakarena dance might have its origin in the legend of the parting between botinglangi along with the folks of lino.
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