The dialogue of the Arja consists of songs, so this dance-drama is the Balinese dance opera. Arja is a very popular performance in Bali dating from the 17th century. Formerly it used to be danced by men only, although the main character is it princess. But now the Arja dance-opera is danced by women, except the clowns vho are danced by men. At the beginning Arja only presented the Panji romances (see "Langen Driya" under Javanese Dancing), but since 1965 it has also used the Ramayana.
THE TOPENG DANCE-DRAMA
regarded from the court-life background of its stories, this masked
dance-drama seems similar to the Gambuh. But the Topeng dance-drama
is different from the Gambuh dance-drama in that it always presents
historical stories based on Balinese chronicles. Sometimes stories
from Javanese history are presented, which is not surprising because
of the close relationship between Bali and Java since the 10th century.
This relationship became closer during the period of Majapahit.
According to Balinese chronicles, Gajah Mada (the great vizier of
Majapahit) even once conquered Bali became king in Bedahulu. The
Topeng dance-drama dares from the 17th century.
Wayang Wong is a Balinese masked dance-drama which is very old and
performs only stories from the epic Ramayana, dating from the 16th,century.
It is only rarely performed at special celebrations, for instance
the Kuningan celebration. At a Kuningan feast the souls of the ancestors
leave their permanent abode in Gunung Agung and come to the pura
or temples, where they are entertained by a Wayang Wong performance
and others. The Wayang Wong dancers, all of whom are men, wear masks
except for the woman roles. Rama and Laksmana often wear masks,
but are sometimes danced without ones.