is a traditional war dance
Dance is an art form that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting....
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...
, accompanied by gamelan
A gamelan is a musical ensemble from Indonesia, typically from the islands of Bali or Java, featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. Vocalists may also be included....
, in which a solo dancer depicts the feelings of a young warrior prior to battle, glorifying the man hood of the triumphant Balinese warrior and displaying the sublimity of his commanding presence. Originally it was performed as a religious ritual to dedicate warriors and their weapons during a temple feast. The dancer may bear a kris
The kris or keris is an asymmetrical dagger or sword nowadays most strongly associated with the culture of Indonesia, but also indigenous to Malaysia, Southern Thailand and Brunei. It is known as kalis in the southern Philippines. The kris is famous for its distinctive wavy blade , but many have...
, a spear, a bow, or other weapons, depending on the variant performed. baris
literally means line
, referring to the line of soldiers who served the raja
Raja is an Indian term for a monarch, or princely ruler of the Kshatriya varna...
s of Bali.
At first, as he takes the stage, the dancer's movements are studied and careful, as if he were seeking out foes in an unfamiliar place. When he reaches the middle of the stage, hesitation gives way to self-assurance. He rises on his toes to his full stature, his body motionless with quivering limbs, he whirls on one leg, his feet tread the ground to the tumult of the gamelan, and his face renders the storm of passions of a quick-tempered warrior.
There are two main types of Baris dance. The non-ritual dance, explained earlier, is the one performed by a solo dancer. However, there are over thirty different types of ritual baris dances, each of which is performed by a group of people, still imitating the movements of the warrior.