The Expectation of Being a Balinese

Being Balinese has many advantages including beautiful nature and the rich culture around you.

But it also comes with a catch.

As Balinese people expect certain things from you. I often heard my friend and colleague comment:

You are a Balinese so you must be a good dancer or a great artist.

Well, unfortunately, ­I am NOT both 😑

When I was little, I was given the basic dancing lesson so I know the basic moves. But, Balinese dance involves quite complicated choreography where you must balanced your legs, arms, and facial expressions according to the music (Gamelan). Plus, most Balinese dance involve more than one dancer. So, you must also coordinate with your fellow performer. Somehow, I just did not feel confident and not that interested to master in any of the traditional Balinese dance.

Its something that I later on regret as I often disappointed my college friends every time they expect me to perform during certain event.

But, in October last year, I got an opportunity to perform a ritual dance called Rejang Renteng for a ceremony in the local Pura. As always, at first I resisted to join. But, as it was part of a ritual, I felt obligated to do it. In the end, with a lot of hesitant I joined. The dance itself was quite simple compared to other Balinese dance. The movement were slow and repetitive…and it only takes around 7 minutes. We perform in a big group of 27 dancers, so I felt less intimated.

After a grueling 4 weeks of practice, we finally performed at the ceremony. It takes a lot of effort to prepare for the make up and hair-do. But, in the end I was really happy. Not only because I can be part of the ritual, but mostly because I can prove to myself that we can do anything if we put our mind to it.

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