• Home
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Print
  • Art
  • Photos
  • Live
  • Features
  • About
  • Sale
  • Instagram
  •  

    Tropical Heat Tour: Bali Part 7

    Monday, July 9, 2012
    Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia

    A family compound gate in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    Pura Agung Peliatan at sunset in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    It was a nice sunny afternoon, so I decided to return to Peliatan for a photo session and to see a show. As it’s nearly a mile away, I tried to hire a motorcycle taxi, but the guy wanted $3.00, which is way too much money for such a short distance. You can ride a shuttle bus 20 or 30 miles for just $5.00, and I’m on a pretty tight budget, so I just walked instead and shot video of a lot of architecture that I only shot photos of last trip. Right in between Ubud and Peliatan, a guy on a motorcycle kept following me and hounding me to buy a little sculpture. I said no several times, then finally pointed back to Ubud and said all of the tourists are back there.

    A family compound gate in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    A back alley intersection at sunset in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    As the afternoon turned into evening, I was in awe when sunset bathed the Pura Agung Peliatan temple complex in gorgeous lighting. I shot some photos there, and then more photos and video as I ambled through the back walled alleyways to the family compound where a week-long ceremony was underway. I captured some footage of the festive dragons out front, and when I climbed up and over the stairs through the gate, I didn’t realize how low the overhead was and bonked my head on it. A friendly local invited me inside and said I could attend the ceremony if I wear traditional garb.

    A family compound gate all dolled up for a ceremony in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    A.A. Istri Wirati at the Tetamian compound in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    I finished out the photo shoot through more alleyways, encountering a friendly lady who invited me into her compound to look at some artwork, as well as packs of menacing, barking dogs and kids running around laughing, one piping away on a little plastic horn. As I made it back to Pura Agung Peliatan, no one was around and no gamelan or decorations were set up, so I figured it was another cancelled show. I asked around inside the temple and some guys assured me the show would (must) go on. Then I encountered a lone ticket seller who approached me, but I wouldn’t buy one because I was still skeptical. Then he motioned for me to follow him down an alley, and after initially declining, because I didn’t feel like walking anymore, he pointed at a family compound close by.

    Ni Gusti Raka at the Tetamian compound in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    A member of Tetamian blesses the performance space at Pura Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    So, I followed him inside, only to be greeted by a lady named A.A. Istri Wirati and some teenage girls, who were practicing dance moves from a video. All of a sudden, a little old lady who was sitting close by started singing, and I was bummed I didn’t have my iPod and mic ready to record it. As it turned out, the lady was none other than Ni Gusti Raka, a famous legendary dancer from Peliatan who toured the United States and Europe in 1952 as a 10 year old Legong with the full Gunung Sari gamelan orchestra. The trip was organized by a British man living on Bali named John Coast, who also wrote a book on the whole experience called Dancing Out of Bali. Oddly enough, I bought and read that book before my first trip to the island in 2010, and Raka had a copy in hand, complete with herself right there on the cover. I wanted to meet her last trip, as I saw a sign that said she teaches a class at ARMA, but I never made it over there on the right day.

    Tetamian performs the Janger dance at Pura Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    Tetamian performs the Janger dance at Pura Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    So, I was pleased as punch that I got to meet her, and completely on accident, at that! As we leafed through all of the photos in the book, we had a really nice chat for a half hour about what she’s been up to for the past 50 years. She returned to the U.S. as a dancer in 1982 and 1992, and also toured Australia. Next, Istri showed me some photo albums from a trip to the Tong Tong music festival in Holland that she, Raka and some others were invited to perform at just last year. Finally, it was showtime, featuring the Janger dance performed by Tetamian. Unlike most of the other performances staged in and around Ubud, the Janger dance is comprised of one hour-long piece.

    Tetamian performs the Janger dance at Pura Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    Tetamian performs the Janger dance at Pura Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    It tells a story from the Mahabarata in which Arjuna is put through numerous physical and spiritual tets by the Gods Indra and Shiva, with the roles played by various familiar Balinese characters like the Baris, Jauk and Rangda. Another interesting feature is the fact that the female dancers sang and smiled showing their teeth, which I’ve never seen before in Balinese dance, and the gamelan consisted of just a few small instruments. But, they really kicked up quite a racket. The audience was small again tonight, with only four other people besides myself and a bunch of locals whole ringed the outer edges of the stage. After the show, a kid gave me a ride on his motorcycle over to the Monkey Forest, then I just walked up the hill to the Shisa Lounge, where I ended the night posted up next to a fan.

    Tetamian performs the Janger dance at Pura Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    Tetamian at Pura Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

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

    One response to “Tropical Heat Tour: Bali Part 7”

    1. Moon Hermit says:

      Remarkable, for what you found but did not seek. Peace to you.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *