Bali - The Ramayana Dance
The Ramayana is a great Hindu epic that is loved all over South East Asia.
The full story is massive, and told only in episodes.
The most popular episode tells the story of Prince Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother Laksmana. They are banished from their kingdom and wandering through the forest.
One day, while hunting for deer, they are tricked by the evil Rawana, who kidnaps Sita.
With the help of the mythical Garuda, and Hanuman - a white monkey general, Prince Rama eventually saves his wife.
Everyone in Bali loves this story, and even at tourist shows, there are sure to be Balinese in attendance.
|Hanuman is everyone's favorite character.
in Balinese plays are allowed more freedoms than human characters. This is true in both
the dance and the performance.
I've seen actors play Hanuman as a comedian, as a swashbuckling adventure hero, and as a ladies man.
Every performance is different.
||Because Rama and Laksmana are seen as idealized personifications of
beauty, they are played by women.
This often confuses tourists, who can't keep track of the characters. My advice is, don't worry about it.
Read the plot line before the show, then forget about it. Once the show starts, watch Hanuman make his jokes, enjoy the costumes and dances, and listen to the gamelan.
|Try to see this dance at the Puri Saren Agung in Ubud.
It's staged once a week, and it's much better than the performances at hotels in Kuta.
Get there about 45 minutes early, bring something to drink and food to munch on, and sit on the carpet right in front of the stage.