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SMKI Yogyakarta (The Karawitan Vocational School of Indonesia)

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SMKI YOGYAKARTA (THE KARAWITAN VOCATIONAL SCHOOL OF INDONESIA)

Address : Jalan Madukismo, Kasihan 55181

Koordinat GPS : -7 49' 51.17", +110 20' 53.37"

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A. Overview

There are very few formal schools in Indonesia that specialize in teaching arts, especially performance arts such as karawitan. One of the very few schools is Vocational Public High School 1 Kasihan or The Karawitan Vocational School of Indonesia (SMKI Yogyakarta).

SMKI Yogyakarta is one of formal schools that levels with SLTA (senior high school) and belongs to the group of arts and skills for performance arts. The school has 4 programs of skills, namely karawitan music and singing, dance, puppet, and theater.

The origin of SMKI Yogyakarta began in 1918. It was a dance group Krido Bekso Wirotomo which was the first to have the idea of changing the method of teaching dance into a more systematic one. Such an effort then was followed by Tamansiswa School that started including art classes to its curriculum.

After the independence, the preservation of art activities was continued by the fighter students who eventually became a dance group Iramatjitra. Next, there came forces to institutionalize the group with an expectation that art activities might survive, be more systematic as well as continuous, and be able to evolve arts to align with the taste of age.

The forces found their perfect ground in 1961 when finally Iramatjitra was institutionalized and recognized by the state with the Decree of Minister of Basic Education and Culture of Indonesia No. 48, 17 October 1961. The decree stated to establish Dance Conservatory (KONRI) in Yogyakarta. It also appointed Riyo Koesoemobroto, the Regional Inspection Head of Yogyakarta Cultures, as the temporary chief, and RC Hardjo Soebroto as the temporary vice and daily chief.

The name KONRI survived up until 1976 owing to the Decree of Education and Culture Minister of Indonesia No. 0292/O/1976, on December 1976. The decree changed the name KONRI to Sekolah Menengah Karawitan Indonesia (SMKI) or Karawitan Vocational School of Yogyakarta. The change occurred again 1997 following the Decree of Education and Culture Minister of Indonesia No. 036/O/1997, on 7 March 1997. The name became Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan 1 Kasihan (SMK 1 Kasihan) up until present although most people still call it SMKI Yogyakarta.

As a formal school that produces specialists in performance arts who deserve to enter the job world, SMKI Yogyakarta participates directly in culture conservation, particularly performance arts. Its presence contributes to producing graduates who become representatives for cultures to foster the arts of Indonesia in general and Yogyakarta in particular.

The evidence is the active participation of the students and the graduates in various cultural agenda that are carried out routinely in Yogyakarta. For example, the students of karawitan and dance classes are obliged to perform monthly in rotation in Sri Manganti Hall, The Royal Palace of Yogyakarta Sultanate.

Moreover, the puppet class also takes part in developing puppet art by holding a road show of wayang kulit every year. As for the students, the examination of performance is held every end of the semester on level 3. Through such programs, SMKI Yogyakarta succeeds in producing Yogyakartanese puppeteers that are famous all around Indonesia. Some of them are Ki Seno Nugroho, Ki Radya Harsana, Ki Udreka, and so on.

As for the graduates of the theater class, they have spread and enter the professional world as actors, directors, performance organizers of television shows, playwrights, artistic conductors, stage designers, light engineers, and workers in radio or television. They always keep their spirits of art in their daily lives.

B. Features

SMKI Yogyakarta is one of very rare formal schools that specialize in teaching performance arts. One of the features of the school is that it has a puppet class. Puppet education is very rare even in formal schools in Yogyakarta. It is noted that besides SMKI Yogyakarta, puppet class is also open in Habirandha Pedhalangan School in Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat. Only, such a school is not a formal school. It is more like a course.

If Habirandha Pedhalangan School lacks of facilities, puppet class in SMKI Yogyakarta in fact provides enough facilities. It aligns of course with its title as a formal school that is under control of the state.

C. Location

SMKI Yogyakarta lies on Pabrik Gula Madukismo Street, Bugisan Sub-district, Bantul Regency, Yogyakarta.

D. Access

The location of SMKI Yogyakarta is easily accessible by two or four-wheeled transportation. The buses that pass through it are of route 9 and 11. By bus, you can start from Giwangan Bus Station and stop right before SMKI Yogyakarta.

E. Ticket

There is no admission charge to visit SKMI Yogyakarta.

F. Accommodations and Other Facilities

To support the study, SMKI Yogyakarta provides sufficient facilities. Not only does it have a very traditionally designed building, but also it has other features, like 12 theory rooms, 1 computer and internet laboratory, 5 karawitan studios, 4 dance studios, 2 puppet studios, 1 theater studio, 1 recording studio, 1 open studio, 1 makeup and wardrobe room, 1 joglo pendopo, 7 sets of gamelan instruments of slendro pelog scale, 3 sets of leather puppets, 2 sets of sound system and lighting, and various accessories of performance arts.

Other supporting features are fellowships. Fellowships are given every year with the standards of qualification that are already defined by the authority of the school. They include Special Aid for Students, Supersemar, Aid for the Skilled, Aid for the Nearly Dropped-out, and Regional Education Surety.

Apart from such aids, SMKI Yogyakarta also provides several other services, such as:

  • Services for karawitan performance: siteran, gadon, a complete set of uyon-uyon/gendhing-gendhing pahargyan, karawitan iringan/illustrative, new-school karawitan or campursari.
  • Services for dance and makeup arts: classical dances, contemporary dances (single or couple), colossal dances for ceremonial events, and makeup service.
  • Services for puppet show: wayang kulit performances (the compressed one and the complete one night one), including sets of wayang and gamelan.
  • Services for television theater arts: ketoprak, modern theater, pantomime, casting, and hosting.
  • Courses: opening short course of all kinds of performance arts (for the students and for foreigners). The courses of karawitan include pengendang, penggender, pengrebab, penggambang, and vocalist; of dance arts including classical and contemporary dances; of puppet including cepeng sabet, vocal techniques for puppeteer, karawitan iringan, and how to dress in Javanese costumes instantly; of theater including hosting, ketoprak, pantomime, and acting. Each course takes approximately 2-6 months.
  • Services for equipments and utilities: any occasion such as wedding, meeting, birthday party, and art performances may use the joglo building equipped with lighting, sound system, etc.


Text: Tunggul Tauladan
Translation: Al-Amri Arif Sandy
Photo(s): Collection of Jogjatrip.com
(Primary data and various sources)



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If you are from outside Yogyakarta and want to visit this place by travel agency services,
please contact:

Maharatu Tour and Travel

Jl. Gambiran No. 85 Yogyakarta 55161 - Indonesia.
Telp. 0274 8373005/ 0274 414233
Email : maharatu@maharatu.com - maharatu257@yahoo.com
Website : www.maharatu.com

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