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Balinese dance

08/07/2019 454 Views
The island of Bali is characterized, among other things, by its culture and more particularly by its music and dance. It is part of the daily Balinese who, after a day of work, sing and dance. In each city or village exist gamelans (percussion, gong or metallophone orchestras). They usually tell mythological or historical stories of Indonesia.
Although it is traditional that only men play in orchestras, the actors of Balinese dances are both men and women who play different characters or animals. Majestic costumes, solemn gestures: these shows are more like dance theater. The dancer expresses himself by his attitudes, by the movements of the wrists, knees, arms or head, while always keeping the lips closed. There are different dances in Bali: the barong, the ketchak, the topeng, or the lelong; all different, but always telling mythical stories.
The Barong is a mythical creature representing good and existing forces on the earth. Rangda, the queen of witches who represents Evil, opposes him. The Balinese believe that good and evil coexist side by side. The story of the dance evokes this fight from which no winner will emerge. The dance begins with a prelude that has nothing to do with history, it serves as an introduction.
The first scene shows two servants of the queen who discuss the misfortune of their beloved master, Prince Sahadewa, who will be sacrificed today. The appearance of a witch, one of Batari Durga's followers, increases their anxiety. They send for the Prime Minister quickly.
In Scene II, the Prime Minister is followed shortly by the queen, Sahadewa's mother. She is upset to keep her promise to sacrifice her son. The witch, fearing that it will change its mind, the touch of his magic scepter. Instantly, the sadness of the queen turns into anger. Furious, she defeats Sahadewa and orders the Prime Minister to take her to the cemetery where the goddess of death resides.
In Scene III, the Prime Minister, who loves Sahadewa as his son, refuses to obey. The witch then touches him and he gets angry in turn. He drags Sahadewa to the cemetery and attaches him to a tree in front of the temple of death.
The god Siwa appears in scene IV, in the form of a priest. He takes pity on Sahadewa and makes him immortal.
The barong is the most famous Balinese dance. It represents the struggle between good and evil. It tells the story of a queen of Bali, convicted of practicing black magic, who seeks help from Barong to help her defeat evil spirits she had imprisoned in the jungle. With its supernatural dimension, the barong must be played in the presence of a priest, who blesses the masks of the dancers.
Lelong :
The lelong is certainly the most traditional dance. It is initially that reserved for the Palaces. Grace and femininity are the particularity of this traditional dance. From an early age, young girls are trained, and make their first dance step at 14 years old. Dressed sumptuously with brocade, wearing gold and jasmine, with accessories like fans or flowers, the girls perform the dance of the celestial nymphs.
The Sanghyang are trance dances. During religious ceremonies, the gods took possession of the dancer's body and spoke through him. Little girls swing in the smoke, while women ask the nymphs to descend into their bodies. Men then carry the girls' bodies to the place where they will regain consciousness and dance until the women's songs stop.
Kecak is an incantatory dance. It is the most recent Balinese dance, appeared at the beginning of the century. The story tells an epic story of a woman kidnapped by the King of Lanka, and delivered by the army of monkeys. A hundred dancers sit around a fire in a circle and mimic the cry of the monkeys. A priest enters the circle while the dancers swing their heads and arms. It is certainly the most impressive dance, whose goal is to divert the spirits from evil.

Topeng are masked dance performances with bulging eyes and sharp teeth. This dance commemorates the feats of the warriors. The movements of the dancers are punctuated by the gong and stop as soon as the music stops.

The dangle is the dance of offerings. It serves today as a preamble to any show.

Not to mention the puppet theater, certainly the most complex and sacred form of Balinese dances!
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