Pendet | Traditional Balinese Greeting Dance

Pendet is a traditional Balinese dance, in which offerings are made to purify the temple or theater as a prelude to ceremonies or other dances. Pendet is typically performed by young girls, carrying bowls of flower petals, handfuls of which are cast into the air at various times in the dance. Pendet can be thought of as a dance of greeting, to welcome the audience and invite spirits to enjoy a performance. Traditional Balinese dances are the oldest form of performing arts in Bali.

Traditional dances can be divided into two types, sacred dance called Wali and entertainment dance called Bebalihan. Wali (sacred dance) is usually performed in some ritual ceremonies only because it has strong magical powers and only can be performed by specific dancers. Bebalihan are usually performed in social events. In addition to entertain, Bebalihan also has other purposes such as: welcoming guests, celebration of harvests, or gathering crowds.

Bebalihan has more variations than Wali, Pendet is the presentation of an offering in the form of a ritual dance. Unlike the exhibition dances that demand arduous training, Pendet may be danced by anyone. It is taught simply by imitation. Younger girls follow the movements of the elder women, who recognize their responsibility in setting a good example. Proficiency comes with age. As a religious dance, Pendet is usually performed during temple ceremonies. All dancers carry in their right hand a small offering of incense, cakes, water vessels, or flower formations.

With these they dance from shrine to shrine within the temple, Pendet may be performed intermittently throughout the day and late into the night during temple feasts.

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