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Balinese Dance

Balinese dance is an ancient dance tradition and is part of the religious and artistic expression among the people of Bali. Balinese dance is dynamic, angular and intensely expressive, with the dancers expressing the stories of dance-drama through the gestures of their fingers, hands, head and eyes.

There are more than a dozen different dances in Bali, each with rigid choreography, requiring high levels of discipline. The great richness of the ritualistic dance dramas are connected to Hindu or traditional folk rituals, such as the Sanghyang Dedari sacred dance that invokes benevolent hyang spirits, believed to possess the dancers in a trance state during the performance.

The Barong dance represents the eternal fight between the good and evil. Barong, a panther-like creature and character in the Balinese mythology is the king of the good spirits, and enemy of Rangda, the demon queen and mother of all spirit guarders in the mythological traditions of Bali.

The Legong dance is the most refined form of Balinese dance and is characterized by intricate finger movements, complicated footwork, expressive gestures and facial expressions. The very stylized and symbolic story involves two legong girls dancing in mirror image. They are elaborately made up and dressed in gold brocade, relating a story about a king who takes a maiden captive and consequently starts a war in which he dies.

The Kecak dance is accompanied not by gamelan orchestra, but by a choir of seventy men and boys, sitting in concentric circles and slip into a trance as they chant “chak-a-chak-a-chak”, imitating a troupe of monkeys. The dance has its origin in the ritual Sanghyang dance, where dancers entered a trance in order to communicate with deities and ancestors. The dance reenacts the Hindu epic Ramayana, a familiar love story about Prince Rama and Princess Sita.
 

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