Red Light for Legong
Guruh Sukarno Putra, dancer and choreographer expressed his fear on the extinction of some legong style in a press release of Mengenang Sang Guru Dance Performance on Thursday, 8/23/07, in Peliatan Ubud. The son of the first President of Indonesia said that there were dozens of legong style exist in late 1960s and early 1970s, but only few manage to survive until the present time; “a red light for Legong” he added.
There is a bitter fact in his word, many legong styles such as Legong Taro, Legong Menjali of North Bali, Legong Bedulu, Legong Badung are in the edge of extinction since there is no regeneration process going on for these legong styles. As a matter of fact each legong style has their own characteristic of beauty for example the Legong Peliatan has a characteristic of rapid trembling movements and extremely bend-to-the-front body posture. It will a great lost for Balinese dance if these rare style vanish permanently from the island.
Today, only well known legong styles such as Legong Peliatan and Legong Saba have a good regeneration program. These two prominent styles are kept from extinction by local legong workshops run by the descendent of famous dancers and composers of the past. Their work and effort to preserve the legong dance have to be supported and appreciated.
The government through Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) Denpasar which has a power and chance to revive these near-extinction legong styles does not do any significant effort to preserve these priceless legacies. The students of this institute do not even learn these rare styles or try to unearth these styles from their native villages so the Balinese will realize that these styles exist. I hope that the students of ISI not just learn the popular legong style but also the archaic and rare ones that spread all over the island.
Agung Mandera & I Mario
Anak Agung Gde Mandera
Anak Agung Oka Dalem, 1971s
President Sukarno with Legong Peliatan dancers, 1952
Appreciation of President Sukarno to Peliatan dancers
Gusti Made Sengog & AA Raka Astuti
Gusti Made Sengog & Gung Surya
Legong Peliatan, 1960s
AA Raka Astuti, daughter of AA Mandera with friend, 1970s
Guruh Sukarno Putra with Legong Untung Surapati dancers
Some of Legong style