Dance dramas of Java and Bali feature episodes from the Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Some famous dances are ...|
Legong (pronounced LAY-gong) is a graceful Balinese dance performed usually by young girls dressed in gold brocade wrapped tightly around their bodies and headresses decorated with flowers.
In the dance, accompanied by gamelan ensemble, two beautiful dancers move their bodies, hands, fingers, heads and eyes with supple grace and in perfect unison with each other. Seeing is believing.
Kecak (pronounced KEH-chahk) is a Balinese music drama which originated in the 1930s. Also known as the Ramayana Monkey Chant, it depicts a battle from the Ramayana where monkeys help Prince Rama fight the evil King Ravana.
It is performed by 100 or more men wearing checked cloth around their waists, seated in a circle, swaying to the rhythmic echoes of their own voices, chanting "cak" and throwing up their arms ... a sight to behold!
Barong (pronounced BAH-rong) is a dance that epitomizes the eternal struggle between good and evil. The barong is a mythological animal, often represented by a lion (barong ket). He is a protector spirit and enemy of Rangda, the demon queen.
The barong costume resembles a lion with long mane, small head, bulging eyes and sharp fangs. It is manoeuvred by two men, one in front of the other. The barong has mischievous but controlled movements - snapping its jaws now and then.
Jatilan or kuda kepang is a trance dance involving eight or more male dancers with weaved bamboo hobby horses. The dancers move as if they are riding a horse during war and may carry holstered weapons. They wear knee-length pants and bangles on both legs. The dance is accompanied by music and sometimes masked comedians. The dancers would begin in an orderly fashion, trotting around but the dance would not be deemed complete till some dancers are posssessed by the spirit of the horse and start behaving wildly.