Bali travel voyage - Bali Tour and Travel in Indonesia Bali Agence de Voyage pour des séjours en Indonésie

19 / 09 / 2017
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Balinese Dances

Bali is characterized by its culture and more particularly by its music and its dance. On this sacred land, the gods borrow the bodies of the dancers to tell their adventures.

In every city or village, exist gamelans (music instrument). Not less than 2000 troops are scattered on the island. They usually tell mythological or historic story about Indonesia.

It is tradition that only the men play in the orchestras, but the actors of the Balinese dances are both men and women playing various characters or animals. The Balinese dances obey extremely precise rules, for example the dancers always keep their lips closed. The movements of eyes have a very big importance, as well as the movements and the positions of hands and fingers.

In Bali there are a multitude of different dances: the barong, the ketchak, the topeng, or still the lelong.

  • "Lelong" : certainly the most traditional dance of Bali. The dancers are young girls, dressed in brockets, wearing a tiara of gold with flowers of jasmine or with frangipani tree. The story is the one of a young prince who has to say goodbye to his beloved, while a bird warns the young man of his deatg, which will happen soon. The precision of the movements requires a long and difficult learning. The very complex movements of hands and eyes require a perfect coordination.
  • "Kecak" : it is the most recent Balinese dance and one of the most impressive one. The kecak tells an episode of Ramayana, the well-known Indian epic story, during which an army of monkeys commanded by Hannuman helps Rama to deliver his wife Sita, prisoner of Ravanna, king of Lanka. During this dance, many singers (about a hundred) sit in circle, around a fire, make the rhythm of the dance, by singing "tchac - tchac - tchac" imitating the monkeys. This gave the name to the dance : kecak.
  • Barong and Rangda : the barong, also known as the "dance of the kriss" is one of the most famous dances of the island. The first name "barong" is due to the mythical animal which appears in the dance, and the second name "kriss" is a Balinese dagger. This dance represents the wrestling between good and evil. The barong, representing the God, is set against the witch Rangda who haunts Bali at nights and represents the Evil. This last one succeeds in forcing the men fighting her to turn their kriss against themselves. Barong is then going to use all his magic powers to avoid the death of his companions and to overcome Rangda. To embody the baring, two dancers take place in a costume. The head of the animal is made with a wooden mask, and the dancer slams his jaw during the dance. Its fur is made with long silky hairs, the animal is wearing gold and its beard is decorated with flowers.
  • "Kebyar" : it is a duet between an orchestra and a dancer. The dancer expresses all the moods of a teenager, from fear to joy following the music. The dancer is using a hand-held fan and has a terompong (drum) just like the orchestra. 
  • "Baris" : the term "baris" in Balinese indicates the warriors. This dance presents the state of mind of a young warrior before and during war and is performed by young boys.
  • "Sanghyang" : Sanghyang are dances of trance, the gods take possession of the dancers' body and express themselves through them. It is a very impressive dance.
  • "Topeng" : it is a dance with big, beautiful, impressive and sometimes scary masks. This dance commemorates the achievements of the warriors. The movements of the dancers follow the rhythm given by the gong. The dance stops as soon as the music stops.
  • "Pendet" : the pendet is the dance of the offerings. Today it is used as the introduction to any show. During this dance, there is also the puppet theatre. "Pendent" is certainly the most complex and the most sacred Balinese dance.