Getting to Know Legong Dance as a Typical Balinese Cultural Heritage

Legong Dance – Bali is one of the spearheads of tourism in Indonesia. This
island, known as the Island of the Gods, has a lot of tourism potential, from natural tourism to traditional
and cultural tourism.
Natural tourism in Bali offers panoramic beauty of very beautiful
beaches.
As for its culture, Bali has various types of regional dances such as the Kecak Dance,
Legong Dance, and others which have not been eroded by the increasingly modern times.

In this article, we will discuss more about the Legong Dance, which is a traditional dance originating from
Bali.
This dance reflects the grace, beauty, and shrewdness of Balinese dancers.
Usually, this dance will be performed during traditional ceremonies or when welcoming tourist
guests.

Get to know Legong Dance

Legong is a group of classical Balinese dances that have a fairly complex repertoire of movements and are
tied to the accompaniment percussion structure which is said to be the influence of gambuh.
The
word Legong itself comes from the word “leg” which means flexible and flexible dance movements, and “gong”
which means gamelan.
So, the word “legong” in this case means dance movements that are bound by
the gamelan that accompanies it.
The gamelan used to accompany the Legong Dance is called
Gamelan Semar Pagulingan.

Legong dance itself was developed in the palaces in Bali in the second half of the 19th century.
It is said that the idea for the Legong Dance began with a prince from Sukawati who was still
seriously ill and dreamed of seeing two graceful dancing girls accompanied by a beautiful gamelan.
When the prince recovered from his illness, his dream was translated into a dance repertoire with
complete gamelan.

In accordance with their origins, the new Legong dancers are two girls who have not menstruated.
Then danced under the full moon in the palace courtyard. The two dancers are called
legong, which are always equipped with a fan as a tool.
In some legong dances, there is an
additional dancer called a condong, who is not equipped with a fan.
The structure of the dance
itself usually consists of papeson, retailer, and pakaad.
In the times, the Legong Dance lost
its popularity in the early 20th century due to the widespread form of the Kebyar Dance originating from the
northern part of Bali.
Then, a new revitalization effort began in the late 1960s by digging up
old documents for reconstruction.

History of Legong Dance

According to the Babad Dalem Sukawati, this Legong dance was created based on a dream from I Dewa Agung
Made Karna, namely King Sukawati who reigned from 1775 to 1825 AD. tapa at Jogan Agung Temple, Ketewel
village, Sukawati area, he dreamed of seeing an angel dancing in heaven.
They dance using
headdresses made of gold.

When he woke up from his meditation, he immediately ordered Bendesa Ketewel to make several masks whose
faces looked like the ones in his dream when he was meditating at the Jogan Agung Temple.
Then
he also ordered them to make a dance similar to the one in his dream.
In the end, Bendesa
Ketewel was able to complete nine sacred masks according to the request of I Dewa Agung Made Karna.
Sang Hyang Legong dance performances can also be performed at Jogan Agung Temple by two female
dancers.

Not long after the Sang Hyang Legong dance was created, there was a Nandri dance performance group from
Blah Batuh led by I Gusti Ngurah Jelantik who performed a performance that was watched by Raja I Dewa Agung
Manggis, namely Raja Gianyar at that time.
He is very interested in dances that have a style
similar to the Sang Hyang Legong dance.
While ordering two artists from Sukawati to rearrange
it by using two female dancers as the dancers.
Since then, the classic Legong Dance, which we
can see today, began to create.

Development of Legong Dance

The development of the Legong Dance is not only confined to the palace, but has also spread to various
regions and villages.
In the village itself, this dance is delivered to dance teachers from the
village, then they are tasked with teaching the dance to the people in their respective villages.
The villages that have learned this dance include the villages of Saba, Bedulu, Peliatan, Klandis,
and Sukawati.
This Legong dance is then taught by teachers to their students which will later
be shown in the main part of the odalan ceremony.

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In addition, the development of Legong Dance has also penetrated into religious events or animist beliefs.
This dance cannot be separated from the Hindu Palace culture and also the Hindu Dharma.
This is caused by these cultures that take part in the process of creating the Legong Dance.

Legong Dancer

This Legong dance will be presented by two teenage female dancers who have not experienced menstruation.
The two dancers are called legong, where they will dance in the palace environment right under the
sun.
The distinctive features of this dance can be seen from the dancers who carry fans as
complementary properties.
There is also a leaning dancer who acts as an additional dancer whose
difference can be seen clearly, that is, leaning does not hold a fan during the performance.

The Meaning of Legong Dance

The meaning of Legong Dance is related to religious elements and also Balinese culture. As
previously mentioned, this dance is offered at animist religious events, where it is a form of expression of
gratitude for the Balinese people aimed at their ancestors for all the blessings they have received.
This enjoyment is in the form of abundant blessings, be it sustenance, health, and other pleasures
that are also felt by their offspring.

However, the meaning of Legong Dance is getting wider along with the times. Not only as an
expression of gratitude, but also developed into an entertainment dance in a welcoming dance which is useful
for attracting tourists to visit Bali.
Sure enough, the tourists visiting Bali really enjoyed
the cultural-themed performances.

Legong Dance Movement

Based on the dance movements, Legong Dance has several elements derived from Gambuh Dance.
There are three basic movements included in the Panititaling Pagambuhan, namely Agam, Tandang, and
Tangkep.
The following is an explanation of the three basic movements of the Legong Dance,
namely:

1. Religion

Agam is the basic movement of dancers who play various characters. In carrying out this
movement, dancers are required to be able to portray the characters in the dance story being carried.

2. Away

Away is a dance movement in the form of walking and other movements. Legong female dancers
must walk and move according to the gambuh accompaniment.
These movements include ngelikas,
ngeleog, nyelendo, nyereseg, away nayog, away nultil, nayuh, and also agem nyamir.

3. Capture

Tangkep is a basic movement that comes from a combination of supporting expressions. This one
element is called facial expressions when the dancer plays the fan while dancing, including:

a. Eye Movement: Dedeling and Manis carengu
b. Neck
Movement: Gulu Wangsul, Scraping Leaves, Ngilen, Ngeliet, and Scratch
Shoulders

c. Finger Movements: Nyeliring, Passion, and
Nredeh

d. Movement When Holding a Fan: Annoying, Nyekel, and
Ngaliput

Property for Legong Dance

When performing the Legong Dance, useful properties are needed to support the performance.
Apart from that, props can also help bring the dancers’ performances to life. The
following are some of the properties used to perform the Legong Dance, including:

1. Coil

This coil property has a shape like a headdress. Gelungan itself has several types whose use
is adjusted to the type of dance to be performed.
Of the many types of galungan, one of them is
gelungan legong sambeh bintang which is made from coconut leaves or ron with plendo and puring leaves which
are used as decoration.
This type of coil has a shape similar to Uang Kepeng which is colored
white, green, red and flowers as a complement.

Apart from that, there are also types of pupundakan coils. Where this type of gelungan has a
triangular crown on the back and is usually often used when staging the Legong Keraton Dance.
The third type of bun is the pepusungan bun with a hair fold at the back as its trademark.
Meanwhile, the hair on the other side, namely the front and sides, will be decorated with
frangipani flowers.

2. Hand Fan

The hand fan property is also included in the property which is characteristic of the Legong Dance.
Where this hand fan will display a luxurious impression. This fan adopts a bright
color and is quite shiny.
In the middle of the fan usually has a long pattern and is sharp at
the end.

3. Rocking Flower

This ornamental property which is typical of its use adjacent to the crown is called Kembang Goyang.
As the name suggests, Kembang Goyang is made of white flowers that are arranged in such a way that
they are elongated upwards.
While at the top end, there is a red flower. This
Goyang Flower will add to the attractiveness of the Legong Dance because as the name implies, the flowers
will move following the movements of the dancers’ heads.

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4. Crown Head

Used on the head as a crown, this one property belongs to the group that must be present when staging.
As with any crown in general, the crown is gold in color and is combined with hanging ornaments on
the left and right sides of the property.
The dangling decoration will also move to follow the
movements of the dancer’s head.

5. Badong

This one property will usually be used on the neck like a necklace. Where this necklace looks
very luxurious with the effect of using it from the lower neck to the top.
Usually, badong is
made using animal skins and is colored gold.

6. Bracelet

The bracelets used by the dancers are usually made of silver which weighs around 25 mg. So it
will not burden the dancers.
On the bracelet, a Balinese carving was also made as a cultural
representation and also Balinese characteristics.

In addition to the properties mentioned above, the dancers also usually use traditional costumes or
clothing which are definitely typical of Bali.
Apart from the props attached to the dancers’
bodies, there are also musical instruments.
Where the musical instruments used are traditional
Balinese instruments in the form of Gamelan Semar Pagulingan.

Legong Dance Floor Pattern

Legong dance is a type of traditional dance with curved and circular floor patterns. The
circular pattern of the legong dance floor is generally used when there are 2 dancers.
However,
if there are more than two dancers, then the floor pattern for the legong dance used is a half circle and a
diagonal.

This dance, originally from the Island of the Gods, is one of the sacred dances for religious ceremonies or
entertainment and welcoming events.
Its history, which is related to the dream of a prince from
the Kingdom of Bali, also contains elements of cultural values ​​that exist on the island of Bali.
So, it’s only natural that this enchanting dance is always performed and preserved from time to
time as one of the legacies for the next generation.

Legong dance accompaniment music

In staging the Legong Dance, the dancers will be accompanied by original Balinese gamelan music, namely
gamelan semar pegulungan.
Various kinds of instruments will complement each other in
harmonization according to the standard in dance performances, including elements of good and right wirama,
wiraga, and also wirasa.

Gamelan Semar Pagulingan

In the muni-muni chess ejection, this one gamelan is called gamelan samara or in the form of an
intermediate barungan which produces a melodious sound to entertain the king.
Because of its
melodiousness, this gamelan is often played at night when the king wants to rest.
Semar
Pagulingan comes from the word semar which means samara, pagulingan which means a bed or bed.
Nowadays, this traditional music has also become an instrumental offering to accompany dance and
theatrical drama.
Balinese people know 2 types of semar pagulingan, namely:

– Semar Pagulingan with 7 tone pelog tunings
– Semar Pagulingan with 5 tone pelog tunings

The two types of semar pagulingan gamelan physically tend to be smaller than the barungan gong kebyar.
This can be seen from the size of the gangsa and trompong instruments compared to the gong kebyar.
Instruments or musical instruments in gamelan semar pagulingan include:

Amount Unit Instrument
1 fruit trompong with 12 pencons
2 fruit bladed vine gender 14
2 fruit gangsa barungan bladed 14
2 wait gangsa hanger pande
2 wait gangsa hanger kantil
2 wait jegong
2 wait 7 bladed jublag
2 fruit small drum
2 fruit kajar
2 fruit claneng
1 fruit kempur or small gong
1 pangkon rick
1 fruit gentorag
1 fruit fiddle
1-2 fruit flute

The musical instrument that plays a very important role in barungan is the binoculars, which are melodic
regulators.
Trumpet can be used to replace the flute in the procession. The
melodies will be assisted by the fiddle, gender vines, gansa barangan, and also the flute.
While the rhythm will be filled by the jublag and jegongan as the song’s performers.
Then, the drum is an instrument to regulate the dynamics of percussion.

Many of the songs performed by the semar pagulingan instrument come from pegambuhan songs.
Several villages in Bali are still actively playing gamelan semar pagulingan, namely Sumerta in
Denpasar, Paket, Teges, and Peliatan in Gianyar.

Those are some explanations about Balinese Legong Dance. Hopefully the explanation above can
add to your insight about the culture in Indonesia.