Rejang: A Dance for God
Rejang, an ancient dance performs only in a temple anniversary in inner courtyard of the temple to delight and entertain the visiting god and spirit. Rejang consist of a slow procession, but participants conduct themselves with extreme grace and delicacy. It is a dignified and elegant affair. Compare to other Balinese dances, rejang is the most dream-like dance, surpassing all one can imagine of smooth, unending motion. It is accompanied by mysterious old melody subtle, smooth as the dance and with the similar feeling of infinity.
One by one, in an infinitely slow procession, the dancers came out from the darkness. They were dressed in a bright colored stuff overlaid with gold-leaf, wound tightly round the body under the armpits, half covering the breast and reaching to the hips. A sash of some pale color, chiefly pink or yellow, tied a knot above this, hung down on the right side. Under the brocade corsage, a long tight black sarong with rather shiny surface reached to and covered the feet. It was very narrow, and folded so that it formed a slanting line from the right hip to the left ankle, allowing a sumptuous train of dark purple, green, flame, or orange, all covered with gold-leaf, to sweep through and fall between the legs behind.
The skillful management of this train, which is worn by principal lady in all Balinese plays, is one of the beauties of the dance. The elegance of rejang dancers in their long black skirts, and the subdued brilliance of their corsage and train, their delicate fluttering fans and lovely coiffure flowers, covering the front of the head and outlining the great coil of hair that frames the head on one side, could scarcely be surpassed.
Generally, the rejang is danced in several files, the dancers linked each to each by sashes, which they hold in their left hand, while the right arm, sometimes with, sometimes without fan, keeps up a slow undulation, contracting or expanding, but never raising above shoulder-level.
The movement of rejang appears very simple, but is really bafflingly complicated an as impossible to analyze in words as the running of a hound or the swimming of a fish, for all parts of the movement are so involved in one another that there is no moment when any could actually be said begin or end.
The best rejang dance can be seen in the village of Batuan, Tenganan, Bungaya and Asak.