m (mayumi) got a chance to learn Legong from Ibu Arini (Ni Ketut Arini, S.ST). Ibu Arini is a dance Maestro and a famous Balinese dance teacher. This year for the Bali Arts Festival (PKB), Ibu Arini produced a special classical Legong dance performance. Performance of Legong dances that she reconstructed years before. In this performance m performed the Legong Pelayon in Kelandis style.

Legong from Ni Ketut Arini
Ni Ketut Arini and All Dancers
Pre-Performance at Gamelan Cendana Open Stage Batubulan

In producing this performance Ibu Arini collaborated with group of Gamelan Cendana Batubulan (leader I Ketut Suanda, S.Sn) and Basundhari dance group from Japan.

Earlier in April, m received an e-mail from Basundhari leader, Ami Hasegawa from Japan about if m could join to perform on the Bali Art Festival this year. Once there was news that the training activities with Ibu Arini could not be started soon because she was still in the U.S. until early June. Of course, it meant the time to rehearse with Ibu Arini was limited, but from the early times m was really wanted to learn Balinese dances from Ibu Arini. Finally m decided to join the Basundhari.

Legong from Ni Ketut Arini
Ni Ketut Arini

Besides a Balinese dance Maestro, Ibu Arini was also a very well known dance teacher. Dancers who learned from Ibu Arini were not only from Bali, but also from outside of Bali and even from other countries. Therefore, Ibu Arini was often invited to perform and teaching Balinese dances abroad.

m ever heard from her fellow that Ibu Arini was a super busy teacher. That’s why it was sometimes difficult to set an appointment to get dance lesson from Ibu Arini. Ibu Arini has a good character-a friendly dance teacher. This might made many people would not mind to wait to get chance of private dance lesson from Ibu Arini.

Thus this performance was such a great opportunity for people who wanted to have a dance lesson from Ibu Arini.

In the preparation of this performance, m had less time to rehearse with Ibu Arini until ahead to the performance on Bali Arts Festival. Even with this limited time but she got a lot of things about dance from Ibu Arini, like dance techniques, dance stories, and the dance characters (how to feel). Eeach time Ibu Arini taught m , she felt Ibu Arini’s energy, aura,, and… wow! It was feel so great! Taksu!

Having became familiar with Ibu Arini, m already became her ‘fans’ !

Legong from Ni Ketut Arini
m on rehearsal with Ni Ketut Arini

There was some stories about the rehearsal ….
Sometimes in rehearsal, m often got confused and she always asked Ibu Arini with the same question. m usually dances Legong in the style of her own village called the Peliatan style. Ibu Arini taught her in Badung style. Legong dance with this style has quite a lot of differences, from the hips, ass, the head.
Bali is so rich with its Pelegongan styles!

After came from Ibu Arini rehearsal, m always repeated the training in her house. She repeated the lesson that she got in that day in front of the mirror.

Anyway, in talking about mirrors, m certainly not used to practice in front of a mirror. In learning Balinese dance, she often seeks to remember the dance movement through sense of her body, if there was a wrong movement, spontaneously the body would feel strange and less comfortable. But this time using mirror in training was so important, especially to see how match the movements with the partners.

Legong from Ni Ketut Arini
m (left) with friends in Legong Pelayon on rehearsal with Gamelan Cendana Batubulan

Legong Pelayon danced by four dancers. They were Balinese dance lovers who came from Japan. m and her partner seriously trained and matched every detail of Legong dance movements. Three days before the performance at Bali Arts Festival (PKB), we held a Pre-Performance (General Rehearsal) in Gamelan Cendana Open Stage, Batubulan. In this performance all dancers danced on the same costumes like the costume that would be used on the performance at Bali Arts Festival.

Legong from Ni Ketut Arini
Legong Pelayon, Pre-Performance at Gamelan Cendana Open Stage Batubulan

For this special Legong performance, Ibu Arini was not only reconstructed the dance choreography, but the costumes were also well adjusted. Ibu Arini redesigned all the Legong costumes in a more classic style. She designed it based on some of her old videos and photos documentation, and also from her memories during dancing this Legong in the past. Some of these were: the Gelungan was made larger in some parts like the back of the head; one more ampok-ampok was added; shawls were made longer than normal; and didn’t use the “tutup dada“.

m could only compared until these. Of course there were still more Ibu Arini’s ideas that adopted onto this costume.

Legong from Ni Ketut Arini
Ni Ketut Arini on a Classic Costume of Legong Dance

Besides choreography and costumes, the makeup was also in a classic. Old era makeup was not as thick as what is now. Now days Balinese dance makeup colors are some blue, and pink. Ibu Arini said that the makeup and cosmetics (eye shadow) pink and blue colors came to Bali from Java in the Dutch colonialism era. Before that, the Balinese dance makeup was just using brown, black (from charcoal) color, and the red was only on lip. There was no Caling Kidang (Kalis) and Cendang (on the forehead). We followed this classic makeup as what Ibu Arini directed to us. Very classic!

June 23, 2013, was a date of the Pelegongan performance on Bali Arts Festival (PKB) 2013. The dance program were consisted of two gamelan instrumentals the works of I Ketut Suanda from Gamelan Cendana Batubulan, a welcome dance “Gabor” which danced in a classic dance compositions, Condong and Legong in Kelandis style, Legong Bapang Durga, and the last performance was Legong Pelayon.

Legong from Ni Ketut Arini
Ibu Arini, Ibu Bintang Puspyoga and All Dancers
after the Performance at Bali Arts Festival PKB 2013

Thank God, all went successfully!

Ibu Arini, may we meet again in another occasion.
Please continue teaching us!
Matur Suksma Ibu!


(Legong Pelayon dance description by I Ketut Suanda, taken from Bali arts Festival Program 2013 Gamelan Cendana)

In 1974 the project committee Sasana Budaya conducted seminars and training of Legong Pelayon dance. Then this Legong Pelayon reconstruction was performed in 1975. Legong Pelayon tells the story of a beautiful princess, Diah Rangkesari when she was a child. This dance was formed in a beautiful dance compositions and movements, and becoming the basic Legong dance movements that have been inherited until now. This Legong will perform on Bali arts Festival 2013.

Dance Director: Ni Ketut Arini, SST.
Gamelan Director: I Ketut Suanda, S.Sn.
Dancers: Ayako Nikaido, Mayumi Inouye ( m ), Sayaka Nagayama, Sachiko Kudo

Ni Ketut Arini, S.ST.

Ni Ketut Arini, SST.

Ni Ketut Arini

Ni Ketut Arini, S.ST was born on March 15, 1943. She is a Balinese Dance Maestro also well known as a friendly dance teacher. She has been teaching Balinese dance since 1973 through her dance foundation Sanggar Warini in Denpasar and it is still active today. She choreographed many dances both Legong dances and other Balinese creation dances. One of her popular dance work is the Legong Suprabha Duta. Besides created new dances Ni Ketut Arini also have revitalized some old dances which choreographed by a legendary dance Maestro I Nyoman Kaler, such as Bayan Nginte dance, Demang Miring dance, Candrametu dance, Panji Semirang dance, Mregapati dance, and some other dances. With all of her works and dedication to the inheritance, preservation, and development of Balinese dance, she has been awarded various high appreciation from the Government and the private institution, both national and International.