Directed by Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman and Nick George • Documentary • 2018 • 5 minutes
Under a bridge near a train station in Jakarta, Indonesia, an outdoor nightclub is the last of its kind, keeping a traditional Sundanese artform called Jaipong alive. Jaipong, originally a village ritual associated with prostitution, is a mixture of martial arts and live music. The mostly male audience takes turns dancing with the Ronggeng (female dancers) and Sinden (singers), as the music is played with a ferocious tenacity, cycling through relentlessly repetitive hypnotic patterns. We tranced out into the early morning with the Jaipong group and spoke with the club owner to find out what keeps the club alive.
Jaipong (or Jaipongan) is a relatively recent Sundanese music and dance tradition that evolved from a mix of Ketuk Tilu music and Pencak Silat martial arts. There's a unique relationship between the Kendang (drummer), Ronngeng (female dancers), and the male dancers. We won't fully go into that at this point (check out the book Erotic Triangles by Henry Spiller), but if you look closely, you'll notice the male dancer (Bajidor) begins to command the Kendang player with his free-form Pencak Silat movements, creating a truly fascinating dynamic of live performance!