The Kebyar Dance is a male solo dance like the Baris. There are various forms of Kebyar including the Kebyar Duduk Dance and Kebyar Trompong Dance. In Kebyar, the accent is upon the dancer himself, who interprets every nuance of the music in powerful facial expressions and movement.
The most popular form of Kebyar in South Bali is Kebyar Duduk, the “seated” Kebyar, where the dancer sits cross-legged throughout most of the dance. By de-empasizing the legs and decreasing the space to a small sphere, the relation between dancer and gamelan is intensified. The dance is concentrated in the flexibility of the wrist and elbow, the magnetic power of the face, and the suppleness of the torso. The music seems infused in the dancer’s body.
The fingers bend with singular beauty to catch the light melodies, while the body sways back and forth to the resounding beat of the gong. As the dance progresses, the dancer crosses the floor on the outer edges of his feet and approaches a member of the orchestra, usually the lead drummer. He woos the musician with side glances and smiles, but the drummer is too absorbed in the music to respond. Insulted, the Kebyar dancer leaves him and sets out for a new conquest.
The Kebyar is the most strenuous and subtle of Balinese dances. It is said that no one can become a great Kebyar dancer unless he can play every instrument of the orchestra. In Kebyar Trompong, in fact, the dancer actually joins the orchestra by playing a long instrument called the trompong while he continues to dance.