Sayan Rice Terraces and Jegog Dance Show

One thing I’ve failed to mention here, but have made a point of telling everyone who cares to listen, is that the Indonesian (and Balinese, in particular) people we encountered were all so incredible. I mean, Thailand’s known as the “Land of Smiles,” but I’d say Bali definitely gives it a run for its money. Everywhere we went people were friendly, chatty, helpful, and just exuded this sense of contentedness. It was definitely a nice atmosphere in which to be immersed!

Though all of the staff at Sagitarius were pleasant, one guy stood out above the rest: Ka-de-ka (though I’m sure that’s a horrible rendition of the actual spelling). From the moment we arrived he made a point of learning our names, greeting us by name whenever we saw him, inquiring about the other whenever he caught Wayne or myself on our ace, asking if there was anything we needed… he was awesome! And one of the things he was very persistant in arranging for us were tickets to a traditional Jegog dance show. We didn’t really know what to expect, but were really keen to see what seemed to be one of the cultural highlights of the area.

Before the show, however, we had a few hours to kill, and still had the motorbike, so we decided to head over to the Sayan Rice Terraces we’d seen listed in an obscure corner of our map. It was a fun drive (though not without an inexplicably wrong turn or two that were easy enough to sort out) and ended up being a gorgeous, if a bit misty, location for a quick coffee.

you can see bali's two biggest volcanoes (and another big... peak) in the distance. spoiler alert-- we climbed one!

We made it back to the guesthouse in time to have dinner and a quick Arak Attack cocktail before shooting off to the venue with Ka-de-ka. Though I imagine there are many places in the Monkey Forest Road area where there’s traditional dancing to be seen, this one was a bit outside of the town center and Ka-de-ka seemed to know a few of the participants, which gave it a more personal feel. We were given programs and found that, unsurprisingly, the music is as big a part of the production as the dance, and there are some very unique bamboo instruments involved. (For more info on this, once again, I’ll refer you to Wiki.)

We also learned that the various acts of the hour-and-a-half long show display the different stages of a harvest; the sowing, the waiting, the ducks dancing, the culminating buffalo race. You know, normal harvest things. It was a bit difficult to take photos because of the lighting and the movement, but I was able to get a few good ones!

the wide eyes seemed to be a big part of the effect. lots of postcards with similar images. wayne and i had fun for the rest of our trip (and still to this day) mimicking the big eyes, angular gestures, and jerky movements.

this girl was definitely our favorite. we weren't able to tell if the one-eye closed was intentional (see previous photo; everyone else closed both when the moment was right), but we liked her style.

enter farmers.

the ducks. these costumes were fabulous!

water buffalo

farmer coming to round up the buffalo

or are the buffalo rounding up the farmers? (our program instructed us to pay attention to the male/female interactions in this act...)

they created a human chariot for him and actually raced around the stage! amazing!

the big bamboo pipes come out.

we were instructed to approach the stage to 'feel the music with our bodies-- maybe even our souls.' i felt it man!

view of the other bamboo instruments, which had been used throughout the show, from the stage. notice the musician's little head!

wayne and i posing with the ensemble. what an honor!

It was definitely one of many highlights of our Ubud experience– the next being the volcano hike, for which we had to be up at 2 the next morning! Bought a bootleg copy of Moneyball (Brad Pitt! Philip Seymour Hoffman! I know I’m behind but what a spectacle!) and headed straight back to the guesthouse for an early night.

3 responses

  1. Pingback: Sunrise on Mount Batur « Lost Bearings

  2. Pingback: The Tanah Lot Sunset with Old (and New!) Friends | [and] i'm [STILL] having the THAIme of my life!

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