Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pejeng Royal Palace Debuts Monthly Dance and Music Extravaganza

What promises to become a “must see” for Bali visitors premiered on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at the Puri Agung Soma Negare Pejeng at a grand cultural evening hosted by the Regent of the Gianyar Regency, A.A. Gde Agung Bharata.

Presented under the banner of “Cultural Wonders of the Royal Pejeng Performance” – selected guests were hosted to a dinner in the courtyard of the Pejeng Palace – one of the oldest Royal Palaces of Bali that dates its roots to at least the10th Century. 

Pejeng has long been viewed as the “cradle of Balinese civilization" with archaeological findings demonstrating an advance level of civilization in the area dating from prehistoric times. Still on display in Pejeng is the world-celebrated “Moon of Pejeng” a huge bronze-age drum. Further testifying to early settlement of the area are the numerous ancient stone sarcophagi still being unearthed by farmers in the areas surrounding Pejeng.

Long a center for the arts and sacred dance, the Pejeng Palace was rebuilt in 1917 after a major earthquake in Bali. With an open heart to art and creativity, the Royal Household has played host to the first President of the Republic who so loved the area that he built a Presidential Palace there at Tampaksiring. The likes of Walter Spies, Hans Snel and Antonio Blanco have paused over the years at the welcoming palace to savor its rich tradition of dance and culture.

Art and culture at Pejeng is anything but stolid and static. This was demonstrated by the dynamic and colorful Kumbhakarna Gugur Art Performance presented after dinner by more than 100 musicians and dancers. A colossal spectacle created and choreographed by Professor Dr. I Wayan Dibia and I Made Sidia, guests were treated to a mesmerizing performance before the Palace’s gapura entrance lit, in part, by a full moon that only moments before had undergone a rare total eclipse.

In a story taken from the Hindu epic Mahabrata, dancers, actors and musicians spun the story of the heroic Kumbhakara who fights evil demons to defend the land of his birth. Highly skilled dancers and actors incorporated modern permutations of wayang kulit puppetry, wayang wong (stage play) and Bali’s fabled kecak dance.  The final battle scene involving warriors, combative monkeys and a giant oversize puppet left viewers gasping in delight.

Presented by the Gianyar’s Department of Culture, the dinner and performance are planned to become a monthly offering during each full moon.

Shown on are pictures from the Kumbhakarna Gugur Art Performance.

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