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    Tropical Storm Tour: Bali Part 26

    Saturday, September 19, 2015
    Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

    A Kamoro tribe from Papua dance and sing in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    A Kamoro tribe from Papua dance and sing in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Bina Remaja perform the Puspa Wresti dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Bina Remaja perform the Puspa Wresti dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    On this, my fifth day of the flu, I was lucky to be feeling much better. The only symptoms that still remained were a bit of fatigue and a little muscle ache. It felt good to go out on a walk down Jalan Monkey Forest to lunch at Warung Nyuh Gading, where I loaded up on another plate of nasi campur. Then I headed back up to the middle of town, where a group of Kamoro tribesmen from Papua were hanging around the Tourist Information Center in their full get-ups, which included body paint, headdresses and grass skirts. As their chaperones sat at tables nearby, promoting their books on the tribes and the tribesmen’s homemade sculptures, both of which were for sale, I hung around for a half hour in hopes that some dancing and music would go down.

    Bina Remaja perform the Topeng Keras dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Bina Remaja perform the Topeng Keras dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Finally, my wish came true, as the tribesmen got up, grabbed their drums and started thumping away as they sang, walked and danced in a big circle around the front yard of the TIC. The whole performance only lasted a couple of minutes at the most, so I was pretty amped that I got some footage of it. Next, I bought a ticket from Nur Astika for the Legong Dance show by Bina Remaja at the Ubud Palace. Even though I entered the venue 90 minutes early, there were already a few people hanging around waiting for the plastic chairs to get set up so they could sit front and center. Too bad for them that I stood in the frontest most centerest spot when I saw the chair guy grab the first batch, because when he started to put them down, I grabbed one straight away. Definitely a case of dog-eat-dog, it was a jungle out there–more like a jungle gym, because the whole front row was immediately filled with the butts of people from all sits of life.

    Bina Remaja perform the Legong Lasem dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Bina Remaja perform the Legong Lasem dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    As the 90 minutes wore on, the entire courtyard got completely crammed with writhing, seething humanity. The gatekeepers would not stop letting in people. They even allowed a few to sit in between the gamelan players. I think there was some room inside the instruments. There was even a chubby Japanese guy sitting on my feet. He was also brandishing a really bad cough, as was a girl two people to my right. All I needed was to get sick again on top of already having the flu. When the show started at 7:30 pm, cameras and smartphones were held aloft everywhere. Another guy about five feet in front of me had his up on a tripod, slightly blocking the bottom end of my view. Because I had to hold up my camera so high that it in turn blocked the view of those behind me, I ended up only snapping two or three quick photos of each dance. I also had to airbrush out heads from some of them. But, they turned out better than expected.

    Bina Remaja perform the Kebyar Duduk dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Bina Remaja perform the Kebyar Duduk dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Following a sprightly instrumental opener called Kebyar Dang, the first performance of the night was an elegant little number called Puspa Wresti, a welcome dance that offered showers of flowers upon the heads of the first few rows of folks. Second up, Topeng Keras featured an angry-looking red-faced mask dancer who gallavanted about the stage with authority. That was the first time I ever saw the Keras version of topeng, having only witnessed the Topeng Tua (old man mask dance) before. Third in line was the Kebyar Duduk, a flashy and vibrant dance, much of which was performed in a sitting position.

    Bina Remaja perform the Kupu Kupu Tarum dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Bina Remaja perform the Kupu Kupu Tarum dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Another dance that was new to me, the Kupu Kupu Tarum, presented a team of butterflies flitting about the stage in “the heaven at romantic atmosphere,” as it said in the program notes. The centerpiece was the Legong Kraton, in which three female dancers acted out the story of King Lasem and his battle with the King of Daha in pursuit of the lovely Princess of Langkesari. Sixth up was the Oleg Tambulilingan, which displayed bumblebees in love as they flitted about a picturesque jungle. The final dance on this night was Jauk, a solo character study of a friendly demon who cavorted through the jungle, playing with insects and teasing the audience with funny poses, doling out handshakes to those in the front row.

    Bina Remaja perform the Oleg Tambulilingan dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Bina Remaja perform the Oleg Tambulilingan dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Bina Remaja perform the Jauk dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Bina Remaja perform the Jauk dance at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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