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The Second Day of Classical Dance and Drama Performance  

by on Monday, 1 October 20074 Comments | 2,824 views

The second day of Classical Dance and Drama Performances (28/9/2007) was full to rim with various rare performances, from primitive and mystic Sanghyang Memedi trance dance to highly refined Legong Sudarsana, from grotesque and weird Baris Jangkang to elegant Rejang Renteng. Except for Legong Sudarsana, all these dances are extremely rare and can only be seen in special religious occasions.

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The first performance was Sanghyang Memedi trance dance from Buleleng regency. This rare performance is only performed when a serious threat of plague strikes a village, this trance dance functions to ward off both the plague and evil spirits. The performance began in complete darkness, all light was out. A group of men sit cross-legged, sang a merry Sanghyang Song to invite the Memedi (supernatural beings which are well known for their playfulness) to enter the bodies of the mediums. No musical instrument accompanied the first song. After the first song was finished, the dancers sit cross-legged face to face in the center of the stage, a brazier was put between them. The chorus sang another Sanghyang song accompanied by musical instruments which were made of bamboo such as flute and tek-tekan (an instrument which consists of two bamboo sticks, hold in each hand).

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The tempo of the song and musical accompaniment was increased as the dancer slowly put into a state of trance. Suddenly the dancers sprang and running wildly out of the stage, the members of the Sanghyang troupe caught the dancers and brought them back to the stage. The dancers danced wildly on the stage accompanied by Sanghyang song and unique sound of bamboo instruments which at that reached a break-neck speed in tempo, the dancers also played with blazing charcoals which were prepared beforehand, and tried unceasingly to run away form the stage.

The movements of the dancers were controlled by the tempo of the song, as the performance considered enough, the singers slowed their tempo and the dancers responded by slowing down their movements and came to complete halt, prostrated in the ground when the song is over. The dancers ushered behind the chorus and the chorus sang a closing song then departed into the darkness behind the stage.

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The second performance was Legong Sudarsana, from Saba, Gianyar regency. This dance enacted a piece of Calonarang which involved an appearance of a Rangda, the leaders of witches in her demonic form. The Legong Sudarsana was performed in strict Palegongan rules in which a legong performance is divided into three parts, preliminary (pamungkah), the core (pengawak), and closing (pangkat). The Legong Sudarsana incorporated almost all possible scenes in legong, range from love making (pangipuk) to fighting (siat), from the joy to lamentation. The dancers performed a first class Legong dance, with their elegant movements and superb facial expression. It was an excellent performance.

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The third performance was the unique and rare Baris Jangkang from Nusa Penida Island, Klungkung regency. Baris Jangkang portrays the army of demons which served the King of Nusa Penida, Dalem Bungkut, in a war against the human troops from the main land, Bali Island.

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The performance began with the appearance of two clowns with comical masks which served as attendants of Dalem Bungkut. They introduced the plot, provided some explanations on Dalem Bungkut characters and war situation. After the clown retreated, a group of dancers in red equipped with long spears entered the stage. The made a war formation and then kneeled down waited for their leaders, their waiting was not long, two dancers entered the stage, the King of Nusa Penida, Dalem Bungkut and his war lord, I Macaling. They danced grotesquely, laughed maniacally, and conversed in strange demon language, a strange but artistic performance to behold. After Dalem Bungkut and his war lord left the stage, the army of demons began to dance with their slow simple movements, depicting bizarre movements of the demons, sometimes menacing sometimes producing a slight smile on the lips of the audiences. The dancers changed their positions several times before retreating to the back of the stage.

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The last dance was Rejang Renteng, a sacred dance which is usually performed only in the inner courtyard of the temple when a temple anniversary is held. All the dancers are connected with a white thread, and dance in line with the first dancers holds an offering for God. The performance Rejang Renteng in that night was magnificent, the dancers danced gracefully with elegant movement and poses..

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