Just as the Legong is essentially feminine, the Baris,
a traditional war dance, glorifies the manhood of the triumphant
Balinese warrior. The word baris 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
Barong Dance :
The natural world of the Balinese is one held in balance by two opposing
forces: the benign, beneficial to man, and the malign, inimical to
humanity. The destructive power of sickness and death is associated with
the latter force and the evil influence of black magic....
In practicing their faith, Hindu
communities try to achieve a spiritual balance of worship between
Tattwa (philosophy), Susila (morals), and Upacara
(rituals). These three areas are subdivided into various tenets.....
are mainly used to
decorate temples and palaces. There is little difference between the
iconography decorating temples (pura) and that of private
buildings. Gateways represent the dividing line between the inner and
outer worlds and, as such, are the recipients of some of the most
fantastic carvings. As well as portraying deities and demons, carvers
include many scenes from public life, and there are many temple surfaces
enriched with the antics of the Dutch colonists; scenes of bicycles,
drunken parties, car breakdowns, and airplanes can be found. Bali's
modern-day centre of stone carving is the village of Batubulan, situated
halfway between the cities of Denpasar and Ubud. Although you can see
excellent examples of Balinese stone carving all over the island, the
temples in the North tend to be much more creative. If you plan to tour
northern Bali, it is worth taking the time to visit Pura Meduwe Karang
in Kubutambahan, Pura Dalem in Jagaraja, and Pura Beji near Singaraja.
In order to see the work of Bali's most famous stone-carver, I Gusti
Nyoman Lempad, visit Pura Sagen Agung in Ubud.
Most of Bali's people live in villages
of 2,000 to 4,000 people on the fertile southern slopes of the
island. It is usually only a few minutes? walk from one village to the
next by road or through open rice fields. On the northern coastal strip,
the villages are spread along the Java Sea....
Cremation of the dead is perhaps the
most important -- and often the most colorful -- ritual of Balinese
Hinduism. A cremation is necessary to liberate the soul of the deceased
for the passage into heaven and reincarnation. Due to the cost and the
complicated preparations, cremations often occur long after the death of
the person. Group cremations are sometimes held in order to share the
expenses. Between death and cremation the body is buried in the
cemetery. During this time, the soul of the deceased is thought to be
agitated and longing for release....
Galungan and Kuningan :
literally, a celebration of the creation of the universe in which the
creator of the universe is worshipped and all ancestral spirits are
called to come down to earth and dwell again in the homes of their
descendants. Welcoming offerings are placed in the family shrines
and elaborate decorations placed at the gate of each home....
Gamelan : Balinese
music is based on the gamelan orchestra, unique in the world. Gamelan
music is almost completely percussion. Though it sounds strange at first
with its noisy percussion, most listeners find that it soon
becomes exciting and enjoyable. Many villages throughout Bali have
gamelan groups whose performances can be heard in venues ranging from
village community centers to luxury hotels.
Jangger Dance :
The flute begins an eerie tune, and
faraway voices chant a strange song that flows from a loud melody to a
nearly inaudible high pitch. Two girl singers appear wearing splendid,
floral crowns with multi-coiored spikes. They advance, allowing another
pair to enter, until twelve girls have filed on stage....
Kebyar Dance :
The Kebyar Dance is a male
solo dance like the Baris. There are various forms of Kebyar
including the Kebyar Duduk and Kebyar Trompong....
Kecak Dance :
stream of bodies coils itself, circle within circle, around a large,
branching torch. The half-seen multitude waits in silence. A priest
enters with offerings and blessings of holy water. One piercing voice
cracks the suspense; the circle electrifies. No other dance is so
unnerving as the amazing Kecak: dozens to hundreds of men who,
by a regimented counterplay of sounds, simulate the orchestration of the
gamelan. The now-famous Kecak dance was created in the early 20th
century by the famous German painter, Walter Spies, who was resident in
Bali at the time. It represents Spies' reincarnation of the male chorus
of the ritual Sanghyang trance ceremony. Choreography transforms
the ingeniously simple chorus into ecstasy. The cries, the erratic
pulses of sound, and the sublimated violence of the kecak are perfectly
contained in the precise use of a few basic motions of heads, arms, and
Legong Dance :
Legong is the heavenly dance of divine nymphs. Girls from the age
of five aspire to be selected to represent the community as Legong
Nyepi : Nyepi
is the Balinese New Year?s Day according to their calendar and is
honored through obligatory fasting, inactivity, prayer, and silence
throughout the island for 24 hours. Great purification offerings are
made in every village on the day before to appease the evil spirits,
and lively exorcisms are held. Large gangs of youth and children roam
the villages bearing burning torches, various noisemaking devices, and
giant monsters of bamboo, wood, and paper to scare evil spirits away.
Pendet Dance :
is the presentation of an offering in the form of a ritual dance. Unlike
the exhibition dances that demand arduous training, Pendet may be danced
by anyone. It is taught simply by imitation.....
Ramayana Ballet :
Basically, the Ramayana Ballet tells the same story of Rama and
Sita as told in the Kecak (see Kecak Dance) but without the
monkey ensemble and with a normal gamelan orchestra.
Rites of Passage :
Balinese believe that the individual soul is reincarnated into many
lifetimes until, through numerous struggles and stages, it achieves
union with the divine. It is the duty of every Balinese to have children
as vessels for ancestors' spirits to be reincarnated. A man does not
become a full member of his banjar until he is a father. Children are
loved and highly prized in Bali, especially male children, as they carry
the blood line of the family and also look after the burial and
cremation of their parents.....
Saraswati is the goddess of learning and is honored once a Balinese
year with a holiday. Paradoxically, no one is allowed to read or write
on this day, and offerings are made to books of learning.
Topeng Dance :
A Topeng Dance is one in which
the dancers have to imitate the characters represented by their masks. A
full collection of Topeng masks may number 30 or 40.
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