Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/twotrave/public_html/wp-content/themes/Builder-Cohen/lib/builder-core/lib/layout-engine/modules/class-layout-module.php on line 499

Archive for Dance

Discovering Bali – part 2

After speaking to locals about their way of life in Ubud, we were interested to learn more about the Balinese ‘live and let live’ attitude and we re-joined our guide, Wayan, to continue our tour of Bali.

On our way around the island we stopped by Taman Ayun temple - known as the 'beautiful garden' temple - one of Bali's most attractive temples

On our way around the island we stopped by Taman Ayun temple – known as the ‘beautiful garden’ temple – one of Bali’s most attractive temples

Every day the Balinese make and leave these ‘canang sari’ – beautiful offerings to give thanks to god – in temples and on floors. They contain all sorts of things (some even have sweets and cigarettes!), but traditionally they hold at least four flowers to represent the four corners of the compass. Throughout the day these beautiful creations get battered and bruised as people accidently step on them and, later, they are swept away. When I asked if people felt obligated to leave these or if there was an element of ‘keeping up appearances’, Wayan explained that people create canang sari simply for the sheer love of giving thanks – there is no obligation to do it, and no pressure from anyone else.

Every day the Balinese make and leave these ‘canang sari’ – beautiful offerings to give thanks to god – in temples and on floors. They contain all sorts of things (some even have sweets and cigarettes!), but traditionally they hold at least four flowers to represent the four corners of the compass. Throughout the day these beautiful creations get battered and bruised as people accidently step on them and, later, they are swept away. When I asked if people felt obligated to leave these or if there was an element of ‘keeping up appearances’, Wayan explained that people create canang sari simply for the sheer love of giving thanks – there is no obligation to do it, and no pressure from anyone else.

We told Wayan about the local peoples’ overwhelming acceptance and positivity and (typically) he laughed, showing us his wide smile. He asked us to point out any house along the road so that we could pay a visit – ‘We will go inside and meet the people who live here’ he said.

I was convinced this was a trick and that Wayan knew these people we were so rudely door-stepping, but he assured us he didn’t. Nervously walking up the garden path, I was waiting for someone to come rushing out shouting obscenities in Bahasa, but all we met was two old women looking mildly surprised – and amused – at our approach.

Wayan spoke to the women and they guided us warmly around their home (despite not speaking a word of English).

The women (who were a little camera shy) were busy preparing dinner when we arrived. Their kitchen wasn't much more than an open hut filled with pots and pans

The women (who were a little camera shy) were busy preparing dinner when we arrived. Their kitchen wasn’t much more than an open hut filled with pots and pans

They didn’t have a lot, and it was clear this was the home to one of the poorer families in the area. ‘You can always tell how rich or poor a family is by looking at their family temple’ Wayan said.

 

Hang on. He said 'family temple'? That’s right! Not only is there temples for specific things (such as the water temples we visited on our last tour), and the temples for the community (such as the one in Ubud); each family also has its own temple for daily prayer. No wonder Bali is the island of a thousand temples!

Hang on. He said ‘family temple’? That’s right! Not only is there temples for specific things (such as the water temples we visited on our last tour), and the temples for the community (such as the one in Ubud); each family also has its own temple for daily prayer. No wonder Bali is the island of a thousand temples!

It was an eye-opener to look around this family’s home. They were obviously very poor, but what amazed me most was how our visit seemed to delight them. I couldn’t imagine opening up my home for random tourists just to look around and gawk, but that’s exactly what these women allowed us to do – and they seemed to enjoy showing us how they lived.

The family's pigs even said hello!

The family’s pigs even said hello!

Because of the heat, we had a quick pit stop at a very beautiful waterfall – just another display of Bali’s natural beauty…

Tegenungan Waterfall - beautiful and hidden waterfall near Ubud that's perfect for swimming. It was a job to get a picture with no one in it - there were swimming tourists with selfie sticks left, right and centre!

Tegenungan Waterfall – beautiful and hidden waterfall near Ubud that’s perfect for swimming. It was a job to get a picture with no one in it – there were swimming tourists with selfie sticks left, right and centre!

We also stopped by Bali's famous Goa Gajah, or Elephant Cave, an old sanctuary with public baths (which are now full of fish)

We also stopped by Bali’s famous Goa Gajah, or Elephant Cave, an old sanctuary with public baths (which are now full of fish)

Our last stop of the day was Uluwatu temple.

Perched on a steep cliff 70 metres above the roaring Indian Ocean waves, Uluwatu is a sight to behold.

Perched on a steep cliff 70 metres above the roaring Indian Ocean waves, Uluwatu is a sight to behold.

While the sun was setting, we were invited to attend a daily Kekak dance performance – a fire dance performed to the sounds of an all-male choir percussively chanting ‘kak’.

The dance itself told an impressive story of a princess captured by an evil king and rescued by her prince with the help of a mischievous white monkey. The dance at Uluwatu was choreographed with tourists in mind and particular emphasis was placed on the monkey – whose antics delighted the crowd – giving the dance a fun pantomime feel. Here's the monkey dashing through the flames at the end of the dance

The dance itself told an impressive story of a princess captured by an evil king and rescued by her prince with the help of a mischievous white monkey. The dance at Uluwatu was choreographed with tourists in mind and particular emphasis was placed on the monkey – whose antics delighted the crowd – giving the dance a fun pantomime feel. Here’s the monkey dashing through the flames at the end of the dance

It’s not the most authentic dance we saw in Bali, but it was certainly entertaining and it was a fun end to our Bali adventure.