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    Tropical Heat Tour: Bali Part 21

    Monday, July 23, 2012
    Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

    A royal cremation tower at Pura Dalem Puri in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Pura Dalem Puri in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    I started to miss Mexican food from back home in California, so lo and behold, I ran across Mojos Flying Burritos, which sells California-style Mexican food. The Mission Veggie Burrito I ordered was yummy and tasted pretty authentic; the only problem: it was a little stubby thing about five inches long, so I barely got filled up. Right across from that joint is Pura Dalem Puri, a big temple right in between Ubud and Peliatan. I crossed over there to take a few photos of the gate in the setting sunlight, and a giant makeshift bamboo tower. Seems this place is the destination of the royal cremation ceremony coming up on July 28.

    Cepuk Wirasa at the Lotus Pond in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Cepuk Wirasa performs at the Lotus Pond in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Next, I checked up on the status of the other cremation structures at Ubud Palace, which are coming along quite nicely. There were a bunch of colorful, computer-carved styrofoam signs out front from various businesses and organizations wishing the departed King well. and the tall cremation tower was partly festooned with its gaudy decorations. After sitting around for a while and watching the scores of people and traffic slowly pass by, I went to talk to my ticket seller, Nur Astika, who sold me one to see Cepuk Wirasa, a bamboo gamelan outfit, perform the Joged Dance at the Lotus Pond, one of the most beautiful settings in town.

    Cepuk Wirasa at the Lotus Pond in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Cepuk Wirasa performs the Panyembrana dance at the Lotus Pond in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    After a sprightly instrumental opener called Cepuk Wisana, came the traditional Panyembrana dance, which is derived from a version that welcomes Gods to the temple. One of the most frequently performed dances in Bali, this one welcomes tourists with a shower of flowers from the dancers’ bowls. Second up was the Baris warrior dance, which proceeds from calm observation of the battlefield to passionate and courageous preparation for the fight. Then two beautiful women flit and frolicked around the stage during the Cendrawasih dance, which honors the bird of paradise of the same name from West Papua.

    Cepuk Wirasa performs the Baris dance at the Lotus Pond in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Cepuk Wirasa performs the Cendrawasih dance at the Lotus Pond in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Next, a lion took the stage to display its strength and power with the Maragapati dance, followed by the Belibis, a very graceful choreography which mimics the movements of teals. The final dance was the Joged, which featured two performers dressed similar to Legongs, who danced for a few minutes, then went out into the audience to ask various people to join them on stage. It was cheesy and fun, and when you watched the tourists’ brave yet feeble attempts, you began to appreciate the long months of work the Balinese dancers put into learning their art. One big oaf with a beer belly really hammed it up, performing all kinds of comedic maneuvers, much to the audience’ amusement.

    Cepuk Wirasa performs the Maragapati dance at the Lotus Pond in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Cepuk Wirasa performs the Belibus dance at the Lotus Pond in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    At one point, he took one of the dancers’ hands and twirled her round like they were swing dancing. But, when he tried to grab her around the waist, she got a very alarmed look on her face and pushed him away. Public displays of affection, onstage or off, are a no-no on this side of the Earth. I was surprised this audience-participation section of the show went on for a good 15 minutes. I figured they would pull three or four people onstage at the most, but they ended up with 15 or 20 up there, two at a time. Finally, the closer came with the Tabuh instrumental, which put a lid on this fun and funny show.

    Cepuk Wirasa performs the Joged dance at the Lotus Pond in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Cepuk Wirasa at the Lotus Pond in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

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

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