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Ubud Dalem Temple
Ubud Main Road, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali - Indonesia
Phone : +62 361 973 285 (Fabulous Ubud Tourism Information Centre)
Group : Sekaa Gong Karyasa
Day : Tuesday / Time : 07.30 pm / Venue : Dalem Ubud Temple
Procession with Beleganjur Gamelan
The Beleganjur Gamelan (spelled baleganjur or belaganjur) or marching gamelan is a common sight in Bali and is often seen accompanying ritual processions related to cremation or other ceremonial events. It is also performed at times as a seated gamelan for odalan (temple cleansing) ceremonies and other temple ceremonies. The music is typically hypnotic, a series of trance-inducing percussive loops, punctuated with crashing cymbals, often in highly complex staccato rhythms.
Beleganjur has its origins as a battle gamelan, played to inspire warriors going to battle, so as to induce the appropriate spiritual protection and to strike fear in the hearts of the enemy. The Beleganjur gamelan is most often accompanied by a procession.
This instrumental piece is used as an introduction to express the dynamicsof Balinese Gamelan Music.
Gabor - Pendet Dance
The Pendet is a welcome dance (Panyembrahma) symbolizing the joyful reception of the gods who attend a temple festival. According to Balinese tradition the Pendet is performed by young unmarried girls because they bear holy offerings for the Gods.
The Gabor dance is a variation of the Pendet, wherein the dancers present themselves as sacrificial offering to the Gods. The dancers fan themselves eloquently while dancing to the rhythm of the Gabor, which is far more dynamic than that of the Pendet. The accompanying gamelan is Pelegongan, Semar Pegulingan or Gong Kebyar. The dance is generally performed by six, eight or more dancers. At the end of the dance, the dancers throw flowers towards the audience as a gesture of welcome and blessing.
The Baris, essentially a traditional war dance, glorifies the manhood of the triumphant Balinese warrior. Originally a pre-Hindu religious ritual, a dedication of warriors and their weapons to invoke the blessings of the gods and ancestors during festivals and temple feasts. The Baris demonstrates at best the prowess and ferocity of a male dancer, as does the Legong feminine grace. The synchronization between the dancers and the Gamelan Gong (orchestra), precisely attuned to the warriors' changing stances, moods, and tactics, is spellbinding. The word Baris literally means ‘line’ or ‘file’ and refers to the warriors who fought for the Kings of Bali. There are numerous kinds of Baris, distinguished by the arms borne by the dancers.
From the original ritualistic Baris Gede arose the dramatic Baris, performed as a story, prefaced with a series of solo exhibition dances that exemplify a warrior's prowess in battle. It is from this that the present day solo Baris has evolved and is now frequently the first dance taught to young boys wherein they learn to portray the full range of emotions experienced before going into battle: courage, fear, excitement, doubt, pride and humility.
A good Baris dancer undergoes rigorous training to obtain the skill and flexibility that typifies the chivalrous elegance of the dance. The dancer may bear a keris, spear, bow, or other weapons, depending on the baris dance variant being performed. The powerful rhythm of the accompanying Gong Kebyar and Gong Gede intensifies the movements. The dance is usually performed by paired groups of 8 to 40 men wearing the traditional garb of a warrior with ornaments on the chest, the back and the head.
The dancer tentatively enters the stage between the two padjengs, (umbrellas), like an apparition crossing over from another dimension. At first, his movements are studied and careful, as if he were seeking out or sizing up his foe in an unfamiliar place. Gradually as he reaches centre stage, hesitation gives way to self-assurance and he rises to his full stature, torso motionless but limbs quivering. Then in a flash, he twirls on one leg, his feet pattering the ground noisily, in tandem with the tumult of the gamelan while his face portrays a the storm of passions of a quick-tempered warrior.
Legong a refined classical dance, characterized by intricate finger movements, complicated footwork, and expressive gestures and facial expressions, probably originated in the 19th century as royal entertainment, usually staged in the palace courtyard. Legend has it that the Prince of Sukawati fell ill and had a vivid dream wherein two maidens danced to gamelan music. When he recovered, he arranged for such dances to be performed in reality and since then the tradition continued. The classical Legong act is based on several traditional lore, however the most popular ones are based on the 12th century tales of the heroic-romantic escapades of the King Lasem from Malat. He is at war with another King, the father (or brother) of Princess Ranjasari. Lasem wants to marry Ranjaswari, however she does not reciprocate his feelings, detests his advances and tries to run away from him. In the process she gets lost in the forest and is then captured by Lasem, who imprisons her and goes out for a final assault against her family. However Lasem is attacked by a monstrous raven, who foretells his subsequent death. The costumes are rich and extravagant while dramatics elaborate and enacted in pantomime style. A third dancer called a Tjondong or attendant accompanies the two main characters. It is Tjondong who sets the scene, presents the dancers before the audience and later enacts the part of the raven.
Legong is perhaps the oldest classical dance of Bali, performed to music using distinctive long flutes. In its present form, Legong incorporates elements of various performing art traditions: pre-Hindu ritual dances (especially Sang Hyang Dedari) and Hindu Javanese traditions (Gambuh) combined with the early 20th century Kebyar music style. Its dramatic material is drawn from Lasem, another version of the Panji stories. The word Legong itself, consists of 'leg' meaning an elastic or flexible dance, while 'gong' refers to the Gamelan (orchestras). Legong thus implies a bound dance, especially in terms of its accentuation by the accompanying gamelan.
Tabuh Angklung An instrumental music performance – relax and enjoy.
Kebyar - Terompong Dance
The name Kebyar means, "lightening", while the performance is often an interpretation of one of the epic poems Kekawin. Kebyar originated in North Bali in the 1920s, derived from certain movements of the delicate Legong, the heroic postures of the masculine Baris, and some movements from an ancient Balinese dance form called Sanghyang. The present day Kebyar cannot be separated from its greatest practitioner, I Mario, who was responsible for taking the dance form to greater heights. A former Jauk dancer, Mario rearranged the Jauk and began performing the Kebyar in 1915.
I Ketut Mario played an old instrument called the terompong in a virtuoso manner during the performance, while at the same time squatting in a duduk (sitting) position. The Kebyar dance is exclusively a solo male exhibition performance, wherein the dancer is seated cross-legged in the middle of the orchestra, undulating his very supple upper torso and hands in nimble movements along with the music. The Kebyar dancer is responsive to the orchestra, projecting every mood and nuance to the rhythm. Typically, the dancer dresses in a long brocade kain worn as a skirt around his waist, one end trailing on the stage, which the dancer picks up and flicks around with his hands during the dance.
The dance is set to a single musical composition and progresses through the sequence of moods of an idealized Balinese youth who is at the point of reaching full maturity. He expresses a gamut of emotions, ranging from sweet flirtatiousness to bashfulness, melancholy and then angry bravado. Many of the basic poses, gestures and longer phases of movement have been adapted from the Legong dance, but they have been made somewhat more intricate and elaborate.
A modern dance specifically designed for tourists in the early 1950s by the late I Mario of Tabanan, Oleg Tambulilingan? is often chosen to supplement the performance of the Legong. The word oleg means the 'swaying of a dancer,' while tambulilingan refers to the 'bumblebee.'?
Symbolizing a Balinese courtship, this flirtatious dance depicts two bumblebees, a male and a female, happily sucking honey in a flower garden. The female bee enters the garden first, circling the stage in light quick steps, with a long silk scarf trailing behind. The dancer portrays the full gamut of female emotions: seductiveness, scorn, teasing, moodiness, naughtiness and gay-heartedness. The female dancer first pretends to snub the male, but eventually the male is able to win over her love. In one particular sequence, the female dances in a seated position, sensuously swaying and fluttering her hands while the male circles around her in manly stride, head cocked, exuding power over her.
They then come close, only to swirl apart again. The Oleg Tambulilingan dance culminates in a love dance.
Barong & Rangda Dance
The Barong-Rangda confrontation seen throughout Bali is enacted either as a ritual or a public performance, both of which include dramatic, comic and trance aspects. The stories told during the theatrical piece vary by region and have changed over time, but consistently reflect the central theme of Balinese cosmology. Life is understood to exist in the cups between chaos and order: too much chaos and everything disintegrates while on the other hand too much order leads to stagnation. A dynamic balance between the two is thus required.
The Barong is the magical protector of the Balinese villages. As "lord of the forest" with a big 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.
The main act is prefaced with an excellent and very sophisticated gamelan (orchestra) performance, followed by the entry of the Barong who struts around playfully, shaking his mane and tail. The Barong, groomed like a real cat, performs a comical dance, playing with his feet and tail and clacking his jaw. This Barong Keris Act is drawn from an early story in the Mahabharata epic, though the opening scene of the Barong and the monkey serve only as an introduction.
God Siwa, one of the trinity of Hindu gods, is the epitome of destruction, (destruction being viewed as an integral part of the cycle of life on earth - death, decay and renewal). Goddess Durga is the destructive incarnation of Siwa's wife, Queen of the Witches and Goddess of Death, often represented as the widow Rangda or Calonarang in Balinese mythology. The underlying plot of this performance is an episode from the Mahabharata epic, wherein Siwa's wishes to be reunited with his wife Durga in heaven and uses Sahadewa (the youngest of the Pandawa brothers) to purify and redeem her from her wicked earthly form.
The story begins once the Sisian dancers appear. The Kurowa brothers, the antagonists in the Mahabharata story, as opposed to the five heroic and noble Pandawa brothers have petitioned before the Goddess Durga to spread disease and destruction in Indraprasta, the Kingdom of the Pandawas. The Sisian, Durga's team of evil followers, fulfill evil wish of the Kurowas'.
Meanwhile, at the King's palace in Indraprasta, at the temple, the family ceremony has been disrupted by the Sisian. The Pandawas along with their mother Dewi Kunti congregate so as to decide upon further course of action. On the stage, we see Dewi Kunti, her youngest son Sahadewa, and the Prime Minister of the Indraprata.
A witch sent by Durga casts a spell upon Dewi Kunti and she begins to behave in an irrational manner, angry with Sahadewa without reason, she condemns him to death. The Prime Minister too is bewitched and orders Sahadewa to be beaten up and tied to a tree in the cemetery, left to be devoured by Durga, the Queen of the Witches and the Goddess of Death.
However, a priest, as an emanation of the God Siwa (Durga's husband) appears, and casts his own spell on Sahadewa bestowing upon him the gift of immortality, so that Durga cannot kill him. Durga then appears in the form of a longhaired and fearsome creature, flying in on the shoulders of one of her servants, shrieking a blood-curdling howl begins her dance of death, preparing to kill Sahadewa. But to her surprise, she is unable to kill Sahadewa who is protected by God Siwa's spell of immortality.
After many unsuccessful attempts to kill Sahadewa, Durga realizes that Sahadewa is undefeatable and recognizes that her husband, God Siwa, has blessed him. In a poignant scene she begs for redemption and agrees to be killed to achieve spiritual purification so that she can be reunited with her Lord Siwa.
However her servant Kalika, angry with Sahadewa for destroying her mentor, also wants to be redeemed. Sahadewa refuses to oblige, because this would leave no one on earth to govern the evil black magic practitioners and reminds her of responsibility as the guardian of the graveyard and the King of the Buta kala demons. Enraged, Kalika does not see reason and transforms herself into a wild boar, then a Garuda bird, and finally the powerful witch Rangda, in her many attempts to kill Sahadewa. Unable to withstand the onslaught of magical energy from Rangda, Sahadewa summons the Barong.
The Barong and Rangda engage in a fierce battle. The followers of the Barong appear, and join in the battle, attacking Rangda and stabbing her with their keris. Rangda then uses her magical powers to cause the men to fall into a trance, turning their keris on themselves. But the protective power of the Barong's magic is stronger, and the keris do not pierce the mens' skin. The closing event of the drama is the emotionally charged keris trance, during which the Barong and Rangda, as representatives of Siwa and his consort Durga, re-establish equilibrium.
Although Durga has joined Siwa in heaven, the inconclusive battle between the forces of darkness and light (Randga and the Barong) signifying the never ending and eternal battle between darkness and light; evil and good. The battle between the forces of darkness and light as depicted in the Barong drama is really a simple Balinese believe, a reflection of the inner battle between good and bad that goes on within us all. Neither side can ever completely overcome the other - the important thing is to maintain the right equilibrium.
At the end of the act, the priest arrives and sprinkles the performers with holy water, thus preventing them from falling too far into an irreversible trance .The participants thus pay serious attention to the cosmic forces they invoke and always ask for permission and blessing in the temple before going onto the stage.
Carefully observed, the Barong-Randa confrontation and the Keris dance offers profound insight into the way the Balinese understand the universe and their place within it. The performance expresses a living oral tradition that no one member of the troupe could recite alone, but which finds full expression as a communal effort. The comic and ornamental aspect of the drama carry the story as strongly as the parts played by the central actors; the man setting up the chairs feels as fully involved as the actress playing Kunti.