Balitraveldiary.com – Out of the many traditional Balinese dances, legong is one of the non-ritual dances that has survived from surviving through the ages. This dance, which is characterized by dynamic body movements, tapering fingers, and sharp eyes, has lasted for nearly 200 years.
In the beginning, legong dance was a sacred dance. This dance was performed specifically at the celebration of the odalan in the innards (inner courtyard) of Pura Payogan Agung, Sukawati. Inspired by the sacred dance, an entertainment dance was created for the aristocracy – which was later regarded as the forerunner of modern legong dance.
Based on the Chronicle Dalem Sukawati, this dance is estimated to have existed since around 1811. The ruling king at that time, I Dewa Agung Made Karna, was inspired after 42 nights of hermitage in Payogan Agung Temple – located in Ketewel Village, not far from Puri Sukawati . In the inspiration, the king saw a number of beautiful girls dancing gracefully and gracefully to the accompaniment of beautiful music. Based on these visions, the king reconstructed the choreography and accompaniment arrangements he saw. After completing and becoming a complete dance, the king then taught it to the people of Ketewel Village.
This dance was later given the name “legong”, from the merging of “leg” and “gong”. “Leg” means graceful gestures, while “gong” is one of the musical instruments accompanying the dancer’s movements. Based on the merging of these two words, “legong” can be interpreted as a harmonious blend of graceful hand and foot gestures with the instrument gong playing.
The classical legong dance which is staged in a limited manner in the aristocratic family environment has a standard that distinguishes it from the types of legong that developed afterwards. Between the 1930s and 1950s, there were many variants of non-sacred dance or entertainment dance which claimed to be the development of legong, thus creating confusion in the mention of classical legong dance. This early version of non-sacred legong dance was then standardized with the name “legong palace”, according to its origins which developed as a show of nobility.
The legong palace dance usually lifts stories about Balinese kings or stories from the Ramayana epic. Currently, the stories that are usually sung in the legong palace dance include “Bapang”, “Candra Kanta”, “Jobong”, “Egret”, and “Lasem”.
In each performance, the palace legong dance will be divided into 4-5 parts. The four main parts of the legong dance are papeson (opening), performers (main part), squeeze (development of the main part), and sensitive (cover). In addition to the four sections, in some types of legong, there are the batter parts, which are rounds containing scenes of romance or battle.
Legong dance that carries the story “Lasem” is quite easily witnessed in several performance venues, such as the amphitheater stage in the Garuda Wisnu Kencana complex. Lasem legong performances consist of nine acts. In this show, it is told by Dewi Langkesari, a daughter of Daha Work, who was beautifully abducted by Prabu Lasem. Putri Langkesari was later released free from the help of an eagle and King Lasem was defeated.