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    Tropical Heat Tour: Bali Part 3

    Thursday, July 5, 2012
    Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

    Lunch at the Warung Kacul in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    The Sekehe Gong Panca Artha gamelan performs at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Sekehe Gong Panca Artha performs the Legong Trance dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    I spent all morning and afternoon Photoshopping the previous night’s efforts of the shutterbug variety. For lunch, I resorted to that old standby, nasi goreng, and French fries at the Warung Kecul, just a stone’s throw away from my room. As night arrived, I moseyed on up to Ubud Palace to catch the Legong Trance and Paradise Dance performed by Sekehe Gong Panca Artha. I saw this same exact troupe / show in 2010 and it’s one of my very favorites. Since July and August are one of Bali’s high seasons, the place was packed with 150 people–at least three times more than any audience I’ve seen in Ubud.

    Sekehe Gong Panca Artha performs the Legong Trance dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Sekehe Gong Panca Artha performs the Jauk dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Sekehe Gong Panca Artha performs the Lencana Agung Ubud dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    The Legong Trance is a little more lithe and delicate than other Legong versions. After a man blesses the two Legongs’ crowns with holy water and puts them into a trance state, they tell a story in dance about how the Gods give blessings and mercy to humankind for peace and prosperity on this troubled Earth. This jaw-dropping, moving performance represents the apex of ritual theater. Jauk is a solo dance in which a demon cavorts through the jungle, joking with insects, admiring the scenery, and so on. The Lencana Agung Ubud is a full-blown ensemble piece that celebrates the spiritual and peaceful way of life of the locals in Ubud.

    Sekehe Gong Panca Artha performs the Kebyar Trompong dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Sekehe Gong Panca Artha performs the Sisya dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Sekehe Gong Panca Artha performs the Ballet of Bimanlu dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Kebyar Trompong features the long Trompong instrument, which is expertly played by a woman who dances at the same time. Her facial expressions, which range from a deer-caught-in-the-headlights stare one second to a flirtatious smile the next, perfectly match the explosive gamelan gong kebyar music, which developed on Bali in the 1930s. The set finished in grand fashion with The Ballet of Bimanlu, which tells the tale of prince Bimaniu and all of the adventures he experiences battling various evil forces on his journey to win the heart of princess Situ Sunari.

    Sekehe Gong Panca Artha at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Roll over photos for captions.
    Words and photos ©2012 Arcane Candy.

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