The Art Of Balinese Dance, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Seeing a Balinese dance is really a captivating experience.
The dancers are dressed in elaborately decorated and very ornate, bright outfits, and their hairdos are done beautifully with crowns of flowers and tassels.
Their face makeup is also exquisite, with special attention put on the eyes, which play an important role in the dance.
Balinese dancers express the stories of the dance-drama they enact, through their bodily gestures.
The dancers gesture by bending their fingers backwards, making their hands glide through the air, moving their heads from side to side in a way that looks like the head of a puppet, and enlarging their eyes and controlling their blinks.
Balinese dance is unique, dynamic, and the movement is very complex.
When dancing, a dancer has to be able to exercise control over each of her body’s parts from head to toe.
It is hard to believe that we too, have bodies that could be trained to be so controlled and expressive.
The uniqueness about Balinese dance, lies in the eye movements called “Seledet.”
The eyes are glanced right and left, accompanied by a quick tilt of the chin.
While doing this, the eyes must be wide open, and must not be blinked.
The effect looks a little like freeze frame clips, where the neck, chin and eyes tilt so fast back and forth.
Besides the graceful movement of the entire body, facial expressions are also very crucial to the dance.
They express the moods and feelings of the characters in the dance, displaying happiness, anger, sadness, shock, love, and more.
The fingers and hands of the dancers are so delicate, and are able to bend backwards in such an amazing way.
Dancers start training at a very young age in order to develop this flexibility of movement and control of the body’s subtle muscles.
There are many places to watch a Balinese dance around Ubud, including at the old palace in the evening, and many temples offer dance shows, since most of the dances depict Hindu spiritual stories.
Hotels invite dancers to perform and sometimes restaurants do as well.
If you are in Bali, please do not miss seeing this amazing art form.
From Ubud, Bali with love,