Bali 45 Legong dancers

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  • Legong is a form of Balinese dance. It is a refined dance form characterized by intricate finger movements, complicated footwork, and expressive gestures and facial expressions.Legong probably originated in the 19th century as royal entertainment. Legend has it that a prince of Sukwati fell ill and had a vivid dream in which two maidens danced to gamelan music. When he recovered, he arranged for such dances to be performed in reality. Others believe that the Legong originated with the sanghyang dedari, a ceremony involving voluntary possession of two little girls by beneficent spirits. Legong is also danced at public festivals. Excerpts from Legong dance dramas are put on for tourists.Legong dancers are always girls who have not yet reached puberty. They begin rigorous training at about the age of five. These dancers are regarded highly in the society and usually become wives of royal personages or wealthy merchants.Classical Legong enacts several traditional stories. The most common is the tale of the King of Lasem from the Malat, a collection of heroic romances. He is at war with another king, the father (or brother) of Princess Ranjasari. Lasem wants to marry the girl, but she detests him and tries to run away. Becoming lost in the forest, she is captured by Lasem, who imprisons her and goes out for a final assault against her family. He is attacked by a monstrous raven, which foretells his death.The dramatics are enacted in elaborate and stylized pantomime. The two little actresses are accompanied by a third dancer called a tjondong or attendant. She sets the scene, presents the dancers with their fans and later plays the part of the raven

  • Legong is probably the best-known form of contemporary Balinese dance theatre. It is worthy of this reputation, as this form of dance-drama, performed by mostly three girls, represents the classical standard of Balinese female dance. Legong was created at the turn of the eighteenth century by combining elements from older traditions such as gambuh and the sanghyang dedari trance dance with its many ancient animal movements. Early in its development a variant of legong was performed by young boys, but it was rechoreographed for girls by royal command. The pre-adolescent girls were chosen from nearby villages, and they served as legong dancers until puberty. Present-day tourist shows, however, mainly employ adult dancers

  • The standard plot of legong is based on a cycle of East Javanese tales relating to the adventures of the legendary Prince Panji. Legong is, however, an implicitly abstracted form of dance theatre, and the various events are vaguely alluded to. It usually concentrates on only a fragment of the whole tale, where the King of Lasem has kidnapped Princess Rangka Sari, who has fallen in love with Prince Panji. The king tries to win the heart of the beautiful princess, but she does not respond to his advances. The princess demands that the king beat Panji in battle. The unhappy king goes off to the battlefield, but on his way he meets a crow, the bird of ill omen. The king arrogantly strikes the bird with his fan and thus seals his fate in the coming battle with Panji.


  • One of the dancers plays the princess, another has the role of the king, and a third plays both a servant and the bird. All three dancers wear the same standard costume in which the waist and back are enclosed tightly in a long belt of fabric with a long skirt covering the legs. The material of the costumes is typically gold- embroidered dark green or violet fabric, originally derived from court dress.

  • Legong dancer at pre-cremation ceremony

  • A group of young Legong dancers at a Melasti ceremony, the purification of the Pratima (god symbol) and other Hindu Religion symbol at the beach

  • The dancers do not speak or sing themselves, and the lines are presented by singers among the orchestra. Legong is accompanied by an exceptionally old type of sweet-sounding gamelan. The dance is based on gambuh, but the special features of costume, the tightly wound waist and the narrow lower part, create a different aesthetic for the dance

  • The legs are bent forward with the torso also leaning forward. Delicate movements of the head and tensed arms are characteristic of legong. An aesthetic concept of tropical insects and animals may account for the way in which the dancers fingers tremble like antennae when they are not handling their fans. The technique also involves the expressive eye movements, typical of Balinese dance but rare elsewhere in South-East Asia.

  • Legong dancers begin their training in early childhood. The demanding technique is taught by moving and twisting the girls arms, necks, and body until the dance enters their innermost being, that is, they learn it. Many villages have their own legong traditions, and at present the style is used not only for performing The Adventures of Prince Panji but for other tales as well.There are many kind of legong dance which these dance take some theme which presented in dance.Legong Kuntul narrate a pair of heron, which occupied sociality

  • Lgong Kuntul (the Dance of the Herons)

  • A legong performance traditionally begins with a complex introductory dance, followed by the drama proper and an abstract epilogue dance. The movements are fast, sometimes creating geometric floor patterns, and the characters communicate with rapid movements and expressions, ending at times in precise unison. The overall mood is almost feverish

  • Text and pictures: InternetCopyright: All the images belong to their authorsPresentation: Sanda Gamelan of Peliatan - Legong Lagu Condong - Bapang Pangkat