Legong Dance

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Legong Dance is the heavenly dance of divine nymphs. Of all classical Balinese dances, it remains the quintessence of femininity and grace. Girls from the age of five aspire to be selected to represent the community as Legong dancers. Connoisseurs hold the dance in highest esteem and spend hours discussing the merits of various Legong groups.

The most popular of Legongs is the Legong Kraton, Legong of the palace. Formerly, the dance was patronized by local rajas and held in e puri, residence of the royal family of the village.  Dancers were recruited from the aptest and prettiest children. Today, the trained dancers arestill- very young; a girl of fourteen approaches the age of retirement as a Legong performer. The highly stylized Legong Kraton enacts a drama of a most purified and abstract kind.

The story is performed ‘ by three dancers: the condong, a female attendant of the court, and two identically dressed legongs (dancers),who adopt the roles of royal persons. Originally, a storyteller sat with the orchestra and chanted the narrative, but even this has been refined away in many Legongs.

Only the suggestive themes of the magnificent gamelan gong (the full Balinese orchestra) and the minds of the audience conjure up imaginary changes of scene in the underlying play of Legong Kraton. The story derives from the history of East Java in the 1 2th and 1 3th centuries: when on a journey the King of Lasem finds the maiden Rangkesari lost in the forest. He takes her home and locks her in a house of stone. Rangkesari’s brother, the Prince of Daha, learns of her captivity and threatens war unless she is set free.

Rangkesari begs her captor to avoid war by giving her liberty, but the king prefers to fight. On his way to battle, he is met by a bird of ill omen that predicts his death. In the fight that ensues he is killed. The dance dramatizes the farewells of the King of Laserm as he departs for the battlefield and his ominous encounter with the bird. It opens with an introductory solo by the condong. She moves with infinite suppleness, dipping to the ground and rising in one unbroken motion, hertorso poised in an arch with elbows and head held high, while fingers dance circles around her wrists.

Slowly, her eyes focus on two fans laid before her and, taking them, she turns to meet the arrival of the legongs. The tiny dancers glitter and dazzle. Bound from head to foot in gold brocade, it is a wonder the legongs can move with such fervent agitation. Yet, the tight composure of the body, balanced by dynamic directive gestures-the flash of an eye, the tremble of two fingers blend in unerring precision. After as hort dance, the condong retires, leaving the legongs to pantomime the story within the dance.

Like a controlled line of an exquisite drawl ing, the dancers flowfrom one identity intothel next without disrupting the harmony of t dance. They may enter as the double image one’ character, their movements marked tight synchronization and rhythmical verve Then they may split, each enacting a separate role, and come together in complementary halves to form a unified pattern, as in the plan ful love scene in which they “rub noses The King of Lasem bids farewell to his queen, and takes leave of Rangkesari.

She repels his advances by beating him with he fananddepartsin anger. lt is then the condong reappears as a bird with wild eyes fixed upon the king. Beating its golden wings to a strange flutter of cymbals, it attacks the king in a vain attempt to dissuade him from war. The ancient narrative relates: “. .. a black bird came flying out of the northeast and swooped down upor the king, who saw it and said, ‘Raven, hoi come you to swoop down on me? In spiteo; all, 1 shall go out and fight. This 1 shall do, oh raven!… With the king’s decision understood the dance may end; or the other legong may return on stage as his prime minister, and shimmering unison, they whirl thefinal stepsi: war

Kecak Dance

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Kecak Dance is a special dance performace is that the accompanying music is provided by the human voice, the gamelan suara, a choir of a hundred men or more sitting in concentric circles, swaying, standing up, lying prone as the story develops.Amongst the swaying masses the voices of the storytellers can be heard telling the unfolding tale. The story is a fragment from the Ramayana, the Hindu epic which finds its expression in many forms, not only in dance, but also in painting and carving.

Prince Rama, heir to the throne of the kingdom of Ayodya, and his wife Sita have been banished from the kingdom by King Dasarata as a result of trickery by Rama’s stepmother. The story begins with the arrival of Rama and Sita accompanied by Rama’s brother Laksmana in the forest of Dandaka. The trio have been observed by the demon Rahwana, King of Alengka, who lusts after the beautiful Sita. Rahwana sends his prime minister Marica to try and isolate Sita so that Rahwana can kidnap her.

Marica’s magical powers turn him into a golden deer and he enters the forest and when the Sita sees the golden deer she is so enchanted by it that she asks Rama to capture it for her. Rama chases after the deer leaving his brother Laksamana behind with strict instuction to protec Sita. When Sita thinks she hears a cry for help from Rama she forces Laksamana to go after Rama by accusing him of cowardice and he goes off to help Rama with great reluctance after drawing a magic circle on the ground and telling Sita the she should not under any circumstance step out side the circle.

Sita, left alone in the forest becomes an easy prey to the trickery of Rahwana who has disguised himself has an old periest and bags Sita for some food as he is cold and hungry. Sita falls for for his trick, she steps outside the circle to give the old priest some food and rahwana grabs her and takes her to his palace.Once back in his palace in Alengka, Rahwana tries everything he can to seduce Sita without any luck. In the palace of Alengka, Sita pours out her heart about her cruel fate to Rahwana’s niece Trijata, when Hanoman appears telling her that hi is Rama’s envoy and proving it by showing her Rama’s ring.

Sita gives Hanoman a hairpin to show she is still alive and sand him back to Rama with a massage to come to her rescue. In the meantime Rama and Laksamana accompanied by Tualen are wandering in the forest looking for Sita when Meganada, Rahwana’s son, appeares and engages Rama and Laksamana in Battle. Meganada uses his magic powers and shoots of an arrow which magically turns in to a dragon which overpowers Rama and Laksamana and they are trussed up in ropesThe bird Garuda, King of all the bird, a good friend of King Dasarata, has observed trouble Rama is in from high up in the sky and comes to the rescue freeing the brothers from the ropes.

Rama and Laksamana continue on their way to rescue Sita and are joined by Sugriwa, king of the monkeyes, and his monkeys army. This fragmen of the Ramayana come to an end with the bittle between Sugriwa and his Monkeys Army and Meganada and his Demon Army which ends with the defeat of Meganada.

Barong and Keris Dance

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Bali Barong Dance is the most famous balinese performance dance and you can see during Kintamani Tour or other Tours in Bali. Barong is a character in the mythology of Bali. He is the king of the spirits, leader of the hosts of good, and enemy of Rangda in the mythological traditions of Bali. Banas Pati Rajah is the fourth “brother” or spirit child that accompanies a child throughout life. Banas Pati Rajah is the spirit which animates Barong. A protector spirit, he is often represented by a lion, and traditional performances of his struggles against Rangda are popular parts of Balinese culture.

The Barong is often portraited with two monkeys. The Barong is the magical protector of Balinese villages. As “lord of the forest” with fantastic fanged mask and long mane, he is the opponent of Rangda the witch, who rules over the spirits of darkness, in the never ending fight between good and evil. During the Galungan Kuningan festivals, the Barong (there are many types, including barong ket, barong macan, and barong bangkal) wanders from door to door (nglawang) cleansing the territory of evil influences. Barong and Kris dance like the kecak dance the Barong and Kris dance is a battle between good and evil spirit.

Barong can take various forms but in this dance he takes the form of the dance Barong Keket, the most holy of the Barongs. The Barong Keket is a strange creature, half shaggy dog, half lion and is played by two men in much the same way as a circus clown-horse. His opponent is the witch Rangda. The fight between Barong and Rangda is also the topic of traditional narratives, usually performed in the temple of the dead.

The most famous is the story of Calonarang, a widow from Jirah who is furious because she cannot find a suitable husband for her daughter Ratna Manggali. All the eligible young men are scared of her black magic, so she gets revenge by wreaking havoc over the kingdom of Daha.

The king, Erlangga, tries to punish her, but all his attempts fail. She kills all the soldiers he sends to destroy her. Then Rangda decides to destroy Daha. She summons all her disciples and in the still of night they go to the Setra Gendrainayu cemetery, to present offerings of dead flesh to Durga, the goddess of death. Durga agrees to the destruction, although she warns the witch not to enter the city of Daha. But the witch does not heed Durga’s advice and the kingdom is soon hit by grubug (a plague) and the villages quickly become cemeteries, people dying even before they can bury their dead. Corpses are scattered everywhere and the stench is unbearable. The only person who can defeat the witch is Mpu Bharadah.

At the king’s request, Bharadah sends his disciple Bahula to steal Calonarang’s magic weapon. Bahula pretends to ask for Ratna Manggali’s hand in marriage, and while the witch is away, Bahula steals the magic weapon with the help of Ratna Manggali. Then he gives the stolen weapon to his teacher Bharadah. The weapon turns out to be a manuscript containing the key to ultimate release (moksa) which has been used upside-down by Calonarang. Bharadah goes to Daha to challenge the witch. With the help of the Barong, she is defeated. Before being killed, she asks to be released from her curse and purified.