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Bali Dances

...Chance to fight Cupak in a duel. She promises that his request will be granted.
Having arrived at the palace, she tells her father that she only wants to marry the strongest person in the kingdom of Daha. Many young noblemen try their luck to beat the strong and powerful Cupak but they are all beaten.

Then Grantang appears. Cupak, seeing his younger brother come forward to the place of the fight, ridicules him, but after a violent fight Grantang beats him. Cupak is exiled to Bug-Bug Besi and Grantang marries Mustikaning Daha.
The Cupak story is also often performed as a shadow play.



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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.


If 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.
Javanese stories often performed by the Topeng dance-drama are the stories of Arya Damar, Ken Arok, Ranggalawe and Gajah Mada.
The Topeng dancers do not use dialogue because the whole face is covered by a mask. The narrator of the story or the commentator on the drama are penasar and kartala, the clowns, whose masks do not cover the whole face, leaving the mouth uncovered, or who often do not wear a mask at all. The women's roles are also danced by men. If a woman role is danced by a woman, however, she does not wear a mask.


The 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.
The clowns (Balinese: penasar, or panakawan, or parekan) play a very important role, telling the story and also commenting on the scenes. They are not only the servants and advisors of a hero or a king, but also function as commentators on the drama. Rama's clown servants are Tualen (Toalen) and Merdah, while Rahwana's clown servants are Delem and Sangut.

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