Pendet dance, is a kind of Wali (sacred) dance, a dance that is performed in every religious ceremony. The Pendet Wali is also often called Pependetan dance, a sacred dance that is danced to welcome the gods down into the world. Pependetan usually performs during the temple ceremony or odalan in the front of Pelinggih, (holy building) the place where the Gods stay. The dancers bring a variety of offering materials such as canang sari, incense, pasepan, and others.

Old Style Pendet
A Pray Before Dancing

To celebrate the Kartini Day, on 21 April 2014, the woman community group (the PKK) of Banjar Kalah held various competitions such as Makeup Contest, Mekidung Contest (singing Bali Hindu sacred songs), and Pendet Dance Competition (the sacred Pendet dance).

In this contest the participants were divided into four groups referred as “Tempekan”. In Banjar Kalah the name of the Tempekan is based on the area where they live. Like if they live in the middle area, they called Tempekan Tengah, and the others were Tempekan Kauh, Tempekan Kelod, and Tempekan Kaja Kangin.

Especially for the Pendet dance competition, each Tempekan represents 10 dancers. From the position of the house, m (mayumi inouye) entered to the Tempekan Kauh in a group with other members in the same Tempekan.

The Pependetan dance is a kind of a welcome dance dedicated and presented to the Gods. The dancers could be anyone and no special dancing skills are required and usually the back dancers follow the movements of the front dancers, or the older dancers.

In this Pendet dance competition a simple rule was applied, where in a team (10 members) may only included a maximum of two dancers.

Old Style Pendet
Pendet Dance

m and Ibu Erawati were dancers and they danced in the front position, and the others follow their movements. Even so for them dancing Pependetan was not easy. Dancing at Temple and dancing on stage so different.

m and Ibu Erawati learned this Pendet dance from Ni Wayan Roti, a former senior dancer from Banjar Kalah in 1960s. Ni Wayan Roti often performing ngayah Pependetan dance in every temple ceremony in Peliatan, and even still active until this day.

We were lucky, Ibu Ni Wayan Roti pleased teach this Pependetan dance to us. She said that this was the classic, old style movements. Once she said that this dance have been improved lately. Nevertheless she hoped that the original movements would still preserved and can be danced well by the next generation. Ni Wayan Roti learned this style from an old dancer from Banjar Tengah, Peliatan.

Old Style Pendet
During rehearsal at home of Ibu Ni Wayan Roti (center), m (right)

The dance movements in this Pependetan was simple, slow, and smooth. It made this dance more open to be danced by anyone. Although the movement were simple but its difficult in the beat-counting. m already used dancing with rhythms in the tempo based to kajar, but in this Pependetan, the movement was started after the kajar. This made her always to move earlier. Oh, how hard to follow the rhythm!

Not only difficult in rhythm, the agem (basic pose of the body in Balinese dance) was also a bit difficult. Indeed in posing the agem in every classical Balinese dance the dancers would automatically in cengked (a kind of body shape pose). But in this Pendet dance, a straight body in the agem is needed, not a hard cengked.

Old Style Pendet
Pendet dance

In a joint training exercise with Tempekan Kauh, Ibu Ni Wayan Roti patiently teaching and dancing. All members followed and rehearsed from her back side. They kept practicing until the group can dance by their self.

Of all their efforts and spirits, they got a good result. And, Hooray! In this competition the Tempekan Kauh won the first prize.

Old Style Pendet
The Tempekan Kauh Group

We thank to Ibu Ni Wayan Roti of her great supports!