The weekend of our trip up Mount Batur was the full moon ceremony. This happens every month. Our homestay village had at least two days of ceremony. The villagers get dressed up in traditional dress- sarong and kerbaya for the ladies and go to the temple. There is dancing, music, prayer and probably some other events which I’m not aware of.
Sleep deprived and sticky with oil from our massage we got back to our homestay just before curfew (9pm). Our homestay mum greeted us dressed up in her ceremony dress. She then invited us to the ceremony and said we could finally watch some dancing. We could not refused and she ushered us upstairs to put on a sarong and white shirt. She tied a fabric belt around us. And off we went.
Knowing we were going to be out after curfew and our room mate (a coordinator of the project) would come home to find us not back yet we were probably going to get in some trouble! But exhilarated on the thought of finally seeing some traditional dancing off we went.
It was an awesome experience. Balinese dancing is incredibly difficult. Every limb seems to move in isolation and every limb is moving.. head/eyes… everything gets involved!
So we took a seat in the crowd and watched. Unbelievably the dancers ranged from about 5 years old to 14ish. They might as well have been professionals they were incredible!!! There is probably some sort of story happening in each dance but I have no idea what it is. Sometimes it appears quite flirtatious when the dancer makes a quick eye movement left or right, then back to centre and smiles. Like I said, every muscle is used and every movement appears so precise. There isn’t a hope in hell of me ever being able to do that. On that note in our homestay our grandpa who used to be a professional dancer is always around and we greet one another by doing some Balinese dancing and he responds by pointing and laughing. Which is fine by me, any hope of me being a good dancer was lost many, many years ago!
We watched the dancing for 45minutes. During which a couple of locals told us that children learn to dance from 5 years old and it is incredibly difficult. Whilst we were there we clocked a couple of Westerners who looked just as out of place and slightly awkward as we did.
Come 21:45 we were absolutely exhausted, not to mention sweating absolute buckets and noted we’d been awake for 20 hours and given we had project tomorrow we’d better head back. Lo and behold we came home to a bit of a telling off from our room mate. But we weren’t in the least bit bothered, finally we’d seen a dance AND been to a ceremony all in one.