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Balinese Contemporary Dance  

by on Friday, 17 August 2007No Comment | 1,900 views

The religious function of art in Balinese culture plays important role in the daily life of Balinese and unity of art and religion can be clearly seen in every aspect of Balinese life. Considering this close relation between art and religion in Bali, it would appear generally very difficult for outside influence to make an impact or to create anything which could be called modern. But the facts are otherwise.

Opening parade of Bali Arts Festival 2006

As the artists of Bali, especially the faculty members of the government-sponsored arts schools have traveled abroad, they have become increasingly aware of the great body of contemporary and avant-garde works done by their counterparts other countries and the knowledge on theory of Western art which they acquire at school, they work as change agents in the development of the art including contemporary and modern Balinese art.

Opening parade of Bali Arts Festival 2006

The contemporary arts of Bali especially in the realm of dancing take traditional forms as their base and perform them in different ways. For example some dance use Javanese or Sumatran gamelan or join them with Balinese gamelan. Some performance have no gamelan accompaniment, but might use stones or be combined with singing. Flutes, violin and guitars are also frequently used.

Sendratari Tantri on Bali Arts Festival 2007

Many new movements are adopted from modern Western dance, such as crawling, jumping, leaping, and other elements alien to Balinese dance tradition. Acrobatic elements from Chinese Barongsai dance also appears frequently in Sendratari performances.

With local geniuses as the foundation, the Balinese have selectively adapted many outside influences to create something new and yet still their own without neglecting the classic and traditional side of Balinese arts. Many such contemporary forms require time for their further developments as they are really testing the reaction of the audience. Some could disappear. However they needed to be staged as the masterpieces of Balinese creativity.

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