In legends, Legong Dance is the heavenly dance of divine nymphs. Of all classical Balinese dances, it remains the quintessence of femininity and grace. Girls from the age of five aspire to be selected to represent the community as Legong Dancers.
In Bali, not every one have same understanding of the word “Legong”. Until today some Balinese think that Legong is any non-dramatic dances performed by woman. One of the cause is the popularity of kebyar dances that become so popular in Bali after legong era. Instead, the word Legong Kraton, means ‘legong of the palace’, is often used by the Balinese referring to all repertoire of legong.
The story derives from the history of East Java in the 1 2th and 1 3th centuries: when on a journey the King of Lasem finds the maiden Rangkesari lost in the forest. He takes her home and locks her in a house of stone. Rangkesari’s brother, the Prince of Daha, learns of her captivity and threatens war unless she is set free.
The Legong Dance is perhaps the most graceful of Balinese dances. It is performed only by young girls 8-12 years old (after reaching puberty the girls usually stop performing this dance). Three girls perform the dance – 2 Legongs and an attendant. With their lithe bodies, the dance tells the tale of a certain princess Rangkesari who is held captive by King Laksmi. The princess’ brother, Daha, tries to persuade King Laksmi to let his sister go. When the king refuses Daha, gathers an army together to force his sister’s release. On his away to attack King Laksmi Daha is attacked by a crow. This proves to be a bad omen as later on Daha is killed in battle. Even though you never see the male characters the dance ends as the King leaves to fight Daha.
Where to see the Legong Dance:
Puri Saren, Ubud Mondays and Saturdays 7:30 p.m.
Peliatan Village, Ubud Fridays 7.30 p.m.