As the lights on the stage brighten, five beautiful dancers gracefully enter, their white wings spread. Their golden headdresses are radiant and the gorgeous costumes enhance the whole performance. On tiptoes, the dancers imitate flying, gently dipping and bending with their wings spread. At other points, their gestures depict playful encounters and picking at food from the ground. They are performing the Belibis Dance, which displays the grace and charm of the whistling duck. The Belibis dance was created and choreographed 

Text & Photos by Kartika D. Suardana

As the lights on the stage brighten, five beautiful dancers gracefully enter, their white wings spread. Their golden headdresses are radiant and the gorgeous costumes enhance the whole performance. On tiptoes, the dancers imitate flying, gently dipping and bending with their wings spread. At other points, their gestures depict playful encounters and picking at food from the ground. They are performing the Belibis Dance, which displays the grace and charm of the whistling duck. 

The Belibis dance was created and choreographed by N.L.N Swasthi Wijaya Bandem in 1984, with I Nyoman Windha composing the music. In creating the dance, Swasthi was inspired by the tale of Prabu Angling Dharma. The story tells of King Angling Dharma from the Malawati Kingdom, who was granted the power to understand the language of animals.  His wife wanted him to share his magical power, but he refused.

Angry and annoyed, the king’s wife left him.  Feeling lonely, he ventured deep into the jungle where he met (and married) three female giants. One day, he caught his wife scavenging for carrion. Ashamed, she cursed him and he transformed into a great white bird. The king flew away. Along the way he tried to join a flock of white birds, but they rejected him as he was no longer able to speak with animals.!

About Author :

Kartika D. Suadarna

Bamboo Blonde

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