|The Balinese culture
is unique. It is said that the Balinese people
have reached self-content. When a Balinese is asked what heaven
is like, he would say, just like Bali, without the worries of mundane
life. The Balinese want to live in Bali, be cremated in Bali when
they die, and to reincarnate in Bali.
The Balinese don't resist changes but adapt them to their own system.
This goes back in history. Before the arrival of Hinduism
in Bali and in other parts of Indonesia, the locals practised
animism. When Hinduism arrived, the practice of
Hinduism was adapted to local practices. The type of Hinduism practised
in Bali is much different from that in India. Many other aspects
of life flow this way.
depicting religious and mythological symbolisms, melded with Western
and modern paintings, giving birth to contemporary paintings, free
in its creative topics yet distinctively Balinese. Its music,
dance and its wayang theaters, while continually
enriched by contemporary and external artistry, are still rich with
religious connotations, performed mostly to appease and to please
the gods and the goddesses.
wood carvings, gold and silver
crafts parallel the development of paintings, evolving
with external forces to enhance their characters. The batik
of Bali owes its beginnings to Java, and inspired the development
of ikat and double ikat.
The lifestyles of Balinese is expressed in their
dance. Their dances not only teach us about the
Balinese religion from their dance creations but also we can come
to understand the flow of cultural events and activities that belong
to everyday life. We can learn Balinese attitudes, how they look
at nature, and how they regard their fauna and flora.
The very essence of the Balinese culture
is drama and dance, which is performed
during temple festivals and in ceremonies. The dances performed
in some hotels is only a small fraction of what Balinese dance has
Balinese dance goes as far back as Balinese written history with
much of the origins coming from Java. As a result of the Islamisation
of Java, the Javanese culture disappeared but still
survives in Bali and has become part of classical
Balinese dance cannot be separated from their religion. Even the
dances for the visitors are preceded by dancers praying at their
family shrine for taksu (inspiration) from the
Dance fills a number of specific functions: It may be used as a
channel for visiting gods or demons, with the dancers acting as
a sort of living repository. It may be as a welcome for visiting
gods or it may be entertainment for visiting gods.
The typical style and posture of Balinese dance has the legs half-bent,
the torso shifted to one side with the elbow raised and lowered
in a gesture that displays the hands and fingers. The torso is moved
in symmetry with the arms. If the arms are to the right, the move
is to the left and vice-versa.