Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Balinese dance makes for memorable last night

Tonight we went to dinner and a show Balinese style. Actually it was a tribute to Balinese dance, which seemed a fitting ending to our time here. The first dance was a Welcome Dance, Panyembrama. Four young girls wearing elaborate costumes and bearing heavily engraved bowls filled with flowers dance to the music while scattering petals. The friendliness conveyed through the smiles and expressions of the girls was a good opening to the show.

The next dance was the Golden Deer Dance based on a famous Hindu epic. Shinto, the heroine is captivated by the golden deer and follows him into the forest, where she is kidnapped by a tenheaded evil king. It was quite mesmerizing to watch the dancers with their precise movements. Both of these dances were accompanied by a band playing traditional Balinese instruments.

Then, a group of about thirty bare-chested men dressed in sarongs came onstage, lit by flickering torches. Sitting in a circle the actors played the role of an a-cappella choir as they provided non stop vocal accompaniment in the form of a hypnotic vocal chant "Cak-Cak-Cak" which changed with the mood of the story. They moved in unison, hands stretched out, pulled in or resting on the next person. Other dancers in beautiful costumes entered to present a core episode of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, in which Prince Rama, a warrior and rightful heir to the throne, and his wife Sita have been banished from the kingdom. Sita is captured but with the help of the King of the Monkeys, the white monkey army and the Garuda bird, Rama rescues his wife and defeats the evil King Rahwana. The Kecak dance had spectacular choreography. In fact the way the story was presented was reminiscent of a Balinese Gilbert and Sullivan.

Tomorrow we begin our cruise, which may cause our blog posting to become a little sporadic. Bear with.



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