Friday, February 22, 2008

The dance of bali

Combining spiritual, mystical and timeless form
by Amy Swan
Special To West Hawaii Today

The two-member dance company Purnama Sari brought ancient and timeless Balinese dance to life before an appreciative and spellbound audience at King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel Saturday night.

In this first-time West Hawaii appearance by the dance company, the intimate venue was prepared with gold umbrellas to symbolize protection, and ritually blessed with holy water, hinting at the mystical experience to come as dancer Surapsari Megumi appeared to open the performance with a dance of welcome and blessing for the Balinese deities and audience, as well.

Accompanied by the ethereal sounds of Balinese flute and percussion instruments, Megumi appeared in a dazzling traditional design fuchsia and gold costume to display the highly stylized and otherworldly movements characteristic of Balinese temple dance. This solo dance featured the scattering of flowers to symbolize the blessings conferred and effectively immersed the assembly into the mystical world of Bali, Indonesia.

This outstanding performance represents just one aspect of Purnama Sari's repertoire. The couple also conducts workshops exploring the principles and origins of Balinesian spirituality and dance as well as instruction in the ritual dance techniques themselves. They have created a children's performance featuring the traditional Indian epic, Ramayana, which is a classic struggle between good and evil. In addition to this dance, the children's program includes presentation of another Hindu myth, Mahabharata, presented through the traditional art of Balinese shadow puppetry brought to life by their associate, Lee Michael Walczuk. The dance company has been performing and teaching nationally since 2000, and for Big Island audiences for the past two years, and they hope to become more active in West Hawaii in the future.

An opportunity to experience the magic and mysticism of traditional Balinese temple dancing is rare outside of Bali itself, and Purnama Sari offers audiences this rare gift as an offering to Big Island residents simultaneously with performing the ritual for the Balinese deities themselves. It is an art form to enjoy for its obvious exotic beauty but is best appreciated in the context of the complex and ancient cultural roots from which it springs.

Full article (needs registration)

For more information about Purnama Sari and upcoming performances, information is available at on the internet.

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