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The Land
The People
The History
The village Community
The Religion
The Priest
The Cremation
The Mount Agung
The Cosmic Force and Spiritual Harmony
The Offerings
The Calendar
The Temple Ceremony
Nyepi and Galungan
The Cockfight and Toothfiling
The Dances
The Popular Tours
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The Balinese Food The Books on Bali
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I pick up the mail for my company at the local post office. Our mail was supposed to be available by 8:30 a.m, but many times it wasn't ready. I complained to the central post office, and one morning our local post master was wating for me. He explained I had no right to complain, since we had not paid a "caller" fee for the previlege of picking up our mail early rather than waiting for it to be delivered.
"Will paying the fee improve our service?" I asked.
"No," he replied.
"It will give you the right to complain."

By Marie J. kiehl in the Readr's Digest, May 1993.


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Like so much else in Bali, the origin of most Balinese dances lies in religion. The beautiful costumes, graceful dancing and fine music are as much an entertainment as a religious observance, not meant only for the tourists but a living colorful happening that highlights the important event of the village.

Although some Balinese dances are merely a response to an interpretation of music, far and away the majority are pure theatre. They tell a story. And it is the story which dictates the music and the style of the dance.

There are an estimated two hundred Balinese dances, of which at least fifty are frequently performed. It is thus imposible to detail them all within the scope of this section, so only the best known are described.


Pendet Dance

Pendet is the representation of an offering in the form of ritual dance. Unlike the exhibition dances that demand ardous training, Pendet may be danced by everyone; male and female, Pemangkus, women and girls of the village. It is taught simply by imitation and is seldom pactised in the banjars (general village meeting hall). Younger girls follow the movements of the elder women who recognize their responsibility in setting a good example.


Proficiency comes with the age, and often, it is the grandmothers who posses the most elan of the group. As a religious dance, Pendet is usually performed during temple ceremonies. All dancers carry in their hand a small offering of incence, cakes, water vessel, or flower formation set in palm leaf. With these they dance from shrine to shrine within temple. Pendet, thus, may be performed as a serial and continue intermittently throughout the day and late into the night during temple feasts.

Recently, Pendet was introduced to open the Legong. Here, the young girls are accomplished members of a dance troupe, and their movements are coordinated and exact. Toward the finish of the dance, the girls make praying gesture and throw flowers to the audience - a welcome and blessing to the public.

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