As night falls and a dark sky envelopes sparkling Ubud, another life is just about to begin. At one corner of Jalan Hanuman in Ubud sits Pura Penataran Kloncing temple amidst a number shops and restaurants. The front yard of the temple is utilized as a stage for cultural performing arts but this activity doesn’t sacrifice its sacredness. Here, on Sunday evenings, when the sky begins to darken, around 100 seats await audiences for a special performance of the Sanghyang Dedari dance.

 

As night falls and a dark sky envelopes sparkling Ubud, another life is just about to begin. At one corner of Jalan Hanuman in Ubud sits Pura Penataran Kloncing temple amidst a number shops and restaurants. The front yard of the temple is utilized as a stage for cultural performing arts but this activity doesn’t sacrifice its sacredness. Here, on Sunday evenings, when the sky begins to darken, around 100 seats await audiences for a special performance of the Sanghyang Dedari dance.

Sanghyang Dedari, meaning “Angelic God,” is a sacred dance which is only performed inside the temple as part of a sacred ceremony aiming to plead for the welfare of the village and its people. For the sacred ceremony, two very young girls, who must be virgins, partake in a holy ceremony invoking the angels to enter their bodies. When the two girls faint, it symbolises the angels taking control of their bodies, at this point, flower crowns are placed on their heads, they are dressed like legong dancers, and given fans. Accompanied by a female choir and a separate male choir singing Gending Sanghyang (a holy song), the girls are carried on the shoulders of two strong men to the stage. On the stage, the girls, who are in a state of trance with their eyes shut, are dancing on the shoulders of the two strong men.

Mr. Wayan Sudira, the head of Seka Kecak Trena Jenggala, the group who perform, explains that the Sang Hyang Dedari dance is performed every Sunday night at Pura Penataran Kloncing. The dance has been modified and rearranged without involving the sacred values and sanctity of the dance and performed merely to introduce the existence of the sacred dance in Bali to connoisseurs of culture. That is why the performance in Penataran Kloncing is different. 

The performance begins when a lady enters the stage with a pot of burning incense. Then two little girls, wearing beautiful white legong outfits, are carried to the stage on the shoulders of two strong men, followed by the female and male choirs. As the choirs start singing, the dancers start dancing with their eyes shut and continue to move in time with the song. The two little girls may not be in a trance state but they are definitely in a state of deep relaxation.  Even though the performance only echoes the original dance, a priest will still sprinkle holy water on the dancers to refresh them and bring back awareness once the performance finishes. 

 

About Author :

Kartika D. Suadarna

Padma
Aston Canggu
UWRF

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