A few months ago I had the opportunity to attend a central & local government coordination meeting regarding the coral triangle initiative on coral reefs, fisheries & food security in Buleleng Regency. The meeting began with two performances from local dancers and musicians. One of the dances was called Tari Nelayan – Fishermen Dance. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to talk with the dance troupe. So I searched the internet for references to this beautiful dance, and found out that the dance was created in 1960 by I Ketut Merdana, a man originally from Buleleng Regency. Buleleng is a regency in the north of the island positioned between rolling hills and sparkling ocean. The capital of the regency itself is located only a few kilometers from the sea. Born in an area where the ocean is such a big part of life, I can imagine how strong the influence of the fishermen and their daily lives was for Merdana in creating and choreographing the dance.

Text & Photos by Kartika D. Suardana

A few months ago I had the opportunity to attend a central & local government coordination meeting regarding the coral triangle initiative on coral reefs, fisheries & food security in Buleleng Regency. The meeting began with two performances from local dancers and musicians. One of the dances was called Tari Nelayan – Fishermen Dance.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to talk with the dance troupe. So I searched the internet for references to this beautiful dance, and found out that the dance was created in 1960 by I Ketut Merdana, a man originally from Buleleng Regency. Buleleng is a regency in the north of the island positioned between rolling hills and sparkling ocean. The capital of the regency itself is located only a few kilometers from the sea. Born in an area where the ocean is such a big part of life, I can imagine how strong the influence of the fishermen and their daily lives was for Merdana in creating and choreographing the dance.

Tari Nelayan is usually performed by a group of female dancers. The routines blend Bali’s authentic dance routines with the fishermen’s activities at sea. Even before the name of the dance was announced, I had made a guess that the dance was about fishermen. The routines were choreographed clearly and strikingly, making it easy to see that the dancers were impersonating fishermen; rowing a boat, throwing a net, pulling the net back, and carrying the catch of the day.!

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Kartika D. Suadarna

Padma
Aston Canggu
UWRF

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