“Watching Bali’s authentic dances typically lasts about 15 minutes per performance; some performances can be short and sweet, whilst others like the Barong Dance, may take longer. However, to perform a dance, even just for the seven minutes of the Panyembrahma’s opening dance, the dancers themselves have invested so much time and dedicated mind, body and soul to master the techniques and the flows of the routines.”

Text & Photos by Kartika D. Suardana

“Watching Bali’s authentic dances typically lasts about 15 minutes per performance; some performances can be short and sweet, whilst others like the Barong Dance, may take longer. However, to perform a dance, even just for the seven minutes of the Panyembrahma’s opening dance, the dancers themselves have invested so much time and dedicated mind, body and soul to master the techniques and the flows of the routines.”

The Balinese children who attend public school are taught to the art of Balinese dance, it is a part of the curriculum. Those who enjoy dancing or have been chosen by the village to dance – mainly for religious ceremonies- can join their local dance groups. The opportunity to learn the dances of Bali is not only reserved for the locals however, visitors can also take part and trial their dancing skills.

There are several places where visitors who want to taste the art of Balinese dance performance. Agung Rai Museum of Art located in Ubud offers several cultural workshops, including Balinese dance lessons. The one-day activity opens with basic information regarding traditional dance and then two famous dancers demonstrate the particular movement. Another place in Ubud offering classes is Museum Puri Lukisan. In the Denpasar area, Balinese Cultural Creation offers a tailor made cultural program that includes Balinese dance workshops or it can be done as a single activity.

Learning with the living legend of the Balinese dance is also possible. Ni Ketut Arini Alit is considered to be a true maestro of Balinese dance, a reputation recognised not only on the island, but across Indonesia. She is the creator of some popular new choreography, such as the Legong dance, and a dance teacher of hundreds of students not only from Indonesia but also from overseas.

Arini has danced on hundreds of stages in her life. She started the school teaching her students under the bamboo trees. Now Sanggar Warini, located in the center of Denpasar, has 300 students and her daughter Susanti is one of the teachers. Arini is still teaching to this day, she also regularly travels to Japan, Europe & the US to teach dance.!

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