Balinese Dances and Dramas – A Secret and Exotic Art

Located in South Bali is the beautiful coastal town of Seminyak. Known for being one of the most developed and exclusive areas of Bali, Seminyak is home to some of Bali’s more popular beaches and temples such as Seminyak Beach and the Pura Petitenget Temple. Seminyak is also known for its luxury accommodation and Bali 5 star resorts such as the W Retreat & Spa Bali Seminyak.

The Balinese people are known for their rich heritage and culture, and one aspect of this is their native dance and drama. Balinese dance and drama is an ancient art known for incorporating religious expressions and cultural symbolism. Being passed down from generation to generation, Balinese drama and dance is quite a secretive art, with only the practitioners of these arts knowing its full depth. Yet visitors to Bali will be able to witness these amazing and exotic performances which are both exciting and captivating.

Balinese dances and drama are greatly influenced by Hinduism. Hence many of these performances have traditional ritualistic values. Each dance or drama expresses Hindu rituals or depicts a tale in Hindu folklore. Thus these dances incorporate decretive costumes, elaborate head masks, interpretative and articulate expressions using the eyes, mouth, fingers, hips and feet. Balinese drama and dance also uses the unique technique of using various body parts to create layered percussive sounds, to set the rhythm and speed of a dance or drama. Some of the most popular Balinese dramas and dances include The Ramayana; a slightly different depiction of the Hindu legend of King Rama’s defeat of Rahwana, the Barong Dance; a dance depicting the battle between the Forest God Barong and Rangda, the Legong Keraton; a graceful interpretative dance depicting the tale of Rangkesari.

Balinese dances and drama is both illustrative and creative, and is known for gripping its audiences with its exotic depictions, smooth and silky movements and powerful storytelling, and is thus worth exploring while in Bali.

Thanuja Silva is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Auburn Silver. She has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

The Barong and Keris Dance – Intensely Captivating

Barong Dance is the most popular of all the Balinese Dances. It depicts the typical traditional dance form; where a story -typically a myth or legend- is narrated through a series of choreographed movements and expressions. Indonesian myth and legends have links to the religion that precedes the island; Hinduism. Their tales are so powerful that when emulated in the form of dance it becomes almost hypnotizing. The Barong Dance is one such performance; powerful and intense this dance is the very epitome of the battle between the good and the evil.

The Barong Dance is purely classical and is comprised of a series of traditional moves. The tale narrated through this dance is actually a very interesting one. The dance begins with the beast Barong playfully enjoying the company of 2 monkeys. It then goes on to the ‘Keris Dance’ which narrates the actual legend of Rangda, the mother of the 10th century king of Bali, Erlangga. Her obsession with black magic got her condemned by her husband and as soon as he passed away she waged war on her son Erlangga by summoning the evil spirits from the jungle. This part is very powerfully portrayed in the dance and has a sinister aura about it. The troops of the evil spirits were too strong for Erlangga whose men fell into a trance of possession and turned their Keris towards themselves in a suicidal attempt. It was at this point that the help of Barong was beseeched. Barong the powerful beast cast an even stronger spell that protected the soldier’s from the blade of their Keris. In the end Barong and Erlangga emerge victorious.

This powerful myth in the form of dance captivates its audience. It is through such performances history and myth blend together creating a reality. Despite how entertaining it is, the Barong dance is in fact quite dangerous. There is a risk of serious injury by the pointed blade of the Keris. Perhaps it is this risk that makes the dance even more intriguing and adds a sense of thrill to it.

While choosing from the hotels in Seminyak, the W Retreat & Spa Bali Seminyak tops the list. This 5 star hotel Seminyak has certainly beats all the others.

Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Caliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered.Google+

Nyepi Festival, a fervent celebration

The Indonesian festival of Nyepi or traditional New Year is celebrated primarily in the exotic island of Bali. It is primarily a Hindu festivity but non-Hindus conform to the traditional customs as a show of respect for their fellow residents.
Festive customs commence two days before the advent of the new year. On this date many hundreds of persons from each of the villages transport artefacts from temples to the beaches so that they can be ritually purified. People attire themselves in vibrantly coloured clothes and make their way to cheerful processions beginning from the early hours of the morning. Women will carry heaped offerings of prepared rice, fruits and other food on their heads whilst men carry a lengthy sheet of white and yellow cloth which symbolizes God’s Bridge.
On the day prior to Nyepi a number of customs are observed. Villages are cleaned in their entirety, enough food is prepared for two whole days and in the festive evening hours a great deal of noise is intentionally made so as to frighten away demons. Pans and pots are banged, frightening sounds are made and rice is sprinkled on the roads and alleyways. Interestingly effigies of demons and monsters made from papier-mache, cloth and bamboo are carried in procession through the village streets. These demonic figures represent evil and the procession symbolizes the defeat of the forces of evil.
However on the actual day of Nyepi the observances are entirely different. Unlike in other parts of the world where the new year is heralded with revelry and fireworks, in Bali local residents observe a 24 hour abstinence from all physical and worldly activities. Hindus are required to forego the lighting of fires and lights, working, leisure activities and travelling.
After the conclusion of this day of forbearance, the day of Ngembak Geni begins. On this day Balinese go out of their homes to greet friends and relatives, asking for forgiveness for mistakes made in the past. Visitors to Bali will be able to observe these fascinating observances.
Travellers who seek a fine 5 Star Hotel Seminyak will be pleased by the Anantara Seminyak Bali. This fine Hotels in Seminyak offers comfortable accommodations and courteous hospitality.

Thanuja Silva is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Auburn Silver. She has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world. Google+