The Bali dance, from graciously elegant dances to hilarious performances by deviillz


More Info
									              The Bali dance, from graciously elegant dances to hilarious performances...

The Bali dance is religious in nature and full of drama where the dancers move their bodies on the pace
                                             of gamelan music.

 Every movement of fingers, hands, head, body and feet is important and tells the story of the Balinese
                                           vision of life.

     The Bali dance is part of many religious rituals and takes place during numerous festivals and
       ceremonies on the temple grounds. Today these dances are also performed for tourists.

     Ubud is the indisputable cultural centre of dance and drama and you’ll find numerous dance
    performances almost every night. It costs around 50.000 rupiah to see a one-hour lasting dance
                         performance, which is a real bargain if you ask me...

                        The Bali dances can be divided into three main groups,

       1. Wali dances, which has its origin in animistic, old Indonesian, ritual and sacred dances.

             2. Bebali dances,which are semi-sacred dances often portraying Hindu stories.

  3. Balih-balihan dances, which are public dances taking place in the temple but also on a podium for

The dances are learned from a very early age on and a special commission is there to choose which child
                           has the most talent to perform a certain dance.

  The girls for the Legong dance are already selected when they reach the age of 5 years old but their
                              'career' also ends before they reach puberty.
 The dances are learned without a mirror but copied from one another with a teacher who looks after
the details. The Bali dance performances are not only there to entertain you but also to please the gods
                                     and to keep the demons out.

Today you can also see lots of dances in hotels and restaurants but these are often a fraction of the real
 dances performed in temples. Some of the hotel dances give you an OK impression but most of them
                                    are plain dinner entertainment.

  Instead of hotels, restaurants or even the beach quality dances are performed in special designated
       settings with a circle-like open stage called ‘kalangan’, a temple gate called ‘candi bentar’.

     From here the dancers emerge under huge banyan trees. You will hear real-life crickets in the
                 background and it looks like they are used for their special effects.

                                     The Flower Welcoming Dance

 The Pendet dance (bebali dance) has its origin in bringing offerings to the gods and everybody with a
                           dance education is able to dance the Pendet.

 Nowadays the first Bali dance before the Legong dance is the Pendet. Here the dancers welcome the
                          spectators with throwing flowers into the audience.

                                          welcome dance bali

                                 The Pendet Flower Welcoming Dance

                              The Barong Dance – Half dog, half lion dance
There are as many Barong dances as there are myths and legends available in Bali. The stories are often
  between the struggle of good and evil. One of the most popular Barong dances you can find is the
                                 Barong Keket and Rangda story.

 The Barong Keket is a shaggy half dog, half lion mystical creature played by two men in one costume
   with long fangs, bulgy eyes and naughty behavior. There’s also a group of men who carry krisses
                          (traditional daggers), the supporters of the Barong.

   The opponent of the Barong is Rangda, an evil witch with sabre-like fingernails, long tongue and
                                        threatening fangs.

                                       rangda bali dance ubud

                                         Rangda the witch...

 In the story each opponent tries to overcome the other with magical powers but when things do not
      look to good for the Barong the supporters will try to attack the evil witch with their krisses.

 This doesn’t work because the witch has used her power to put the men in a trance so they will stab

   The Barong also has magical powers and puts a spell on the men to prevent this from happening.

This is the most memorable part of this Bali dance because the gamelan plays dramatically and the men
  foam around the mouth, moving backwards and forwards and some are even rolling on the ground.
        A priest arrives and sprinkles holy water on the supporters to free them from the spell.

            In the end the evil witch Rangda is defeated and good has overcome bad again.

                                     barong and monkey bali dance

                      The Barong, half-dog-half-lion with his monkey companion...

                                             Return to top

                                      The Gracious Legong Dance

This Bali dance of Legong (balih-balihan dance) is without any doubt the most gracious of all the dances.
                    The dance is accompanied by the beautiful sounds of the gamelan.

The Legong dancers are often young girls around 8 to 10 years old and selected from the village for their
                                       beauty and suppleness.

     They will perform the legong till puberty and then start dancing other types of traditional Bali
dances.The Legong Keraton is performed by three dancers, two of them are the Legongs and the other is
                                          known as Condong.
                                           legong bali dance

                                      The Gracious Legong Dance

 The Legons are wearing identical costumes with tightly bound gold brocades and their faces are made
       up with detail to the eyebrows and their hair decorated with beautiful frangipani flowers.

  Their movements are choreographed in detail with the twisting of the fingers, hands, feet and facial
                          expression. This Bali dance is worth watching.

 The Legong Kraton tells the story of a king, who kidnaps a maiden called Rangkesari. Her brother begs
                            the king to let her free rather than to go to war.

 The king ignores his begging and is on his way to the battleground when he meets a bird that brings ill
 omens. He ignores the bird and continues to meet Rangkesari’s brother on the battleground, who kills

                                             Return to top

                                         The Oleg Love Dance

   The Oleg Tambulilingan (balih-balihan dance) is a graceful love dance between a flower and a
bumblebee. The female dancer resembles the flower and dances gracefully to attract the bumble bee.

The bumble bee is danced by a male dancer and half-way through the performance they dance together
                                   in a seducing and teasing way.
                                        oleg bali dance ubud

                              The Flower is waiting for the humblebee

                                           Return to top

                                    The Sanghyang Trance Dance

 The Sanghyang dance (wali dance) is often performed in combination with other dances such as the
                                           Kecak dance.

At the end of the Ramayana story one man is in a trance. He performs the Sanhyang Jaran trance dance
                  and rides on a wooden horse kicking burning coconut shells around.

                                     sanghyang dance bali ubud

                                 The Sanghyang Dancer in a trance

The Sanghyang dance is there to protect the village of dark powers and is often performed when things
                              go bad and to prevent more misfortune.
 At the end of the Sanghyang dance a priest helps him to come out of the trance and the performance

                                            Return to top

                                       The Baris Warrior Dance

Unlike the Legong which is a very feminine and gracious dance this Bali dance is a male warrior dance.

 The warrior prepares himself for battle and is accompanied by the gamelan gong. The gamelan gong
                             player has to express the warriors feelings.

The warrior looks a bit insecure from the start but gains momentum during the dance where he rises on
                              his toes and whirls like a guy ready for action.

        I’ve seen two of these Baris dances in Sanur and I have to be frank, they looked funny…

                                        baris bali dance ubud

                              The Baris Warrior in action at Ubud Kelod
 Here I made the mistake to watch this Bali dance in the hotel and on the beach because there was
something clowny about the whole thing. The ‘warrior’ looked like a spoiled little kid without his ice-

Luckily in Ubud my opinion about the warrior dance changed. At the Ubud Kelod Community Hall in
                     Jalan Monkey Forest Road I saw a classical Baris Dance.

   This one is a world apart from the one in Sanur. Here the warrior was really fierce looking and
                          performed every detail with intensity and style.

To top