Bali Dance

The Pendet is one of the oldest Balinese dances used in ceremonies. There are gestures of worship and the use of flower petals in its sequence. Yet lately the Asosiasi Seni Tari Indonesia (the Indonesian Arts Institute) in Denpasar has recreated it into an abridged version that falls into the welcoming dance category of Balinese dance.

The Agung Rai Museum of Art, better known by its abbreviated name ARMA, is located in the village of Pengosekan in Ubud, and has a mission to preserve Balinese culture and introduce local arts to youth at an early age. They provide a special space at the Museum for children to learn to dance. The children are mostly elementary grade schoolchildren and are taught basic traditional dance by experienced dance teachers. 

Dance lessons are held every day, except during certain occasions such as when religious ceremonies are at their peak. One dance can be completely mastered after a year of practice. Dancing the Balinese forms are not as easy as they may seem. There are basic dance moves that must be understood and usually this is the most difficult part, yet it forms the strong base.  

There are at least three basics that must be mastered; gem, seledet, and egol. Ngagem is executing the asymmetric position of the body in a stationary posture. Agem can be divided into two parts: right and left. The right agem is when the upper body slants to the right and the hips to the left, while the hands are at shoulder level.

Seledet is the facial expression that focuses on the sharp dashing glances of the eyes, with directions in accordance to the agem posture. While executing or ngagem to the right, then the seledet glances would normally be to the upper right and lower right.

Learning to nyeledet does not only involve the eye movements but also the facial expressions. A dance surely comes to life when dynamic expressions are skillfully carried out. Sometimes a dancer may either seem fierce, sweet and timid, or dead serious, depending on the act being performed.

Egol or the ‘hip shake’ is executed while stepping on the spot or forward. It is the most difficult move and requires stamina. Because the body posture when executing this move is not standing upright but rather in what the Balinese refer to as ngeed or standing with a slight squat. Generally this is the position throughout the dance sequence. Besides that, the ngegol is not only about shaking the hips but also maintaining the harmony between the hip, hand gestures, and the head.

Ubud surely has become a focal point in the island’s art scene. Those curious about Bali’s arts and culture will find the answers in Ubud. For those who just want to know the basics, they can pay to visit the various local workshops. But for those who want to dive even deeper, they can pay a living Balinese maestro a visit.

Several other senior Balinese dancers that can be asked for guidance include the likes of the topeng mask and gambuh maestros from the village of Batuan, I Made Djimat; Kebyar Duduk maestro, Ida Bagus Oka Wirjana or better known by the name Gus Aji Blangsinga from the village of Blangsinga.

Learning Balinese dance can be done throughout the island. One hotel in the Nusa Dua area has also added a facility for its guests, especially children. The Laguna also provides its guest’s children with complimentary Balinese dance lessons as one of their kid’s club activities. The children can get busy learning the moves while their parents have their own agenda. They can don traditional Balinese attire during the lessons and learn under the guidance of Komang Suarti, The Laguna’s Human Resources Manager. So far, the children who participate express high enthusiasm in each of their moves. Balinese dance give you the chance to feel and experience part of the heritage, which suits both young and old. 

Related articles:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
brownieskien Copyright © 2009 Blogger Template Designed by Bie Blogger Template