The Pendet: A Holy Welcome
In Bali, dance has been the opening to holy ceremonies for as long as we know. The Pendet was considered a sacred dance that was only performed at the temple during a holy ceremony. Following the development of tourism in Bali in 1967, I Wayan Rindi created a new choreography of the Pendet for public performances, to be used as an opening dance performance. The dance is a perfect presentation of the island’s beauty and a perfect warm up for the main performance.
Pendet is an exquisite dance performed by a group of girls – usually 5 or more. At the opening of the Ogoh-Ogoh Festival in Semawang, Sanur that took place in March 2016, a large group of young girls performed the Pendet, meticulously and with precision. These little girls, who were preparing hours before their performance, were vibrant and glowing. They proceeded to the stage accompanied by the harmony of the gamelan- Bali’s traditional orchestra. They marched to the stage with their heads swaying left to right continuously in sync with the movements of their feet.
They were dressed in many layers of colorful shining prada fabric (authentic Balinese fabric with gold prints of flowers), wrapped tightly around their bodies to accentuate their shape and thus movements. Their smiles spread charm and their beautiful costumes glistened under the stage lighting. Their hairdos made them even more graceful, with layers of gold flowers arranged on the top of their rolled hair, framing their faces.
The routines of the dance are very energetic, creating a harmonious and graceful motion from top to toe. The dancers are holding a silver bowl filled with flower petals during the performance and at the end of all their routines they will pour the flowers little by little to the audience as an act of welcoming.