My favorite of the Balinese Dances, the Legong is a palace dance that features the prettiest young girls. The dancers used to be (and sometimes still are) hand picked by the local prince.
Gorgeous costumes and an array of eye, shoulder, hand, head, hip, and foot movements dazzle us.
No part of the costume or the dancer is wasted.
Flowers jiggle. Balls swing. Material sways.
|Eyes dart. Fingers
part. And the feet arch and curl.
Every time I see the Legong, I discover something new about it. And every dancer brings a unique perspective to the dance.
Don't misunderstand me. The Legong is not slowly seductive, like the hula.
Nor is it an explosive celebration, like a Tahitian Dance. And it's not stately, like the Japanese or Korean dances.
Balinese dance is all of this, and none of this.
When performed well, there is a perfect synchronization between the Tjondong and the gamelan orchestra. Crisp, precise movements highlight the crystalline ringing of the gamelan.
The Legong follows (loosely) a story about a
princess, a king, a kidnapping, and a bird of omen.
|When we're in Bali, we try to
see a dance every night.
The ones at Puri Saren Ubud (The Ubud Palace, a unique hotel that I heartily recommend, by the way) are good, and easy to get to.
As an added treat, tomorrows' Legongs are practicing today at the Ubud Palace.
In another 3 years, this princess-in-training will probably be transfixing me and and plenty of others.