The Balinese Language Month 2021 officially opened by the Governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, at the Ksiraarnawa Building, Bali Art Center, on Monday (Feb. 1) was enlivened by the Taru Pramana ballet. The performance was presented by the Faculty of Performing Arts in collaboration with Bungan Dedari Art Studio of the Indonesia Institute of the Arts (ISI) Denpasar. However, it is not oriented towards pure ballet or the oratory commonly presented. “This art composition is made in a new format by combining it with co-creation,” said the Art Director, Dr. I Komang Sudirga, accompanied by the Chairman of the Committee, I Gede Mawan, on Monday (Feb. 2).
Co-creation is a mindset to harmonize various dimensions, various elements, be it literature, theater, dance, music or the use of digital media, such as LED by providing video drones and others. In terms of form, it is still a new format known as new format ballet (solah tutur). “Previously, there was a poetry musicalization and oratory, so now we make it in the form of a speech. Hopefully, it will become a future model. Apart from highlighting the dance, the dancers also have direct dialogue. There are also supports from a puppeteer to fill in certain scenes, some have to sing and chant psalmody so that there are various elements in it,” he explained.
The performance supported by 51 dancers and 23 musicians tells a story inspired by Taru Pramana palm-leaf manuscript, so that it refers to the theme of the Balinese Language Month, namely Wana Kerthi Sabdaning Taru Mahottama (literally: Forest Wellbeing Tells about the Virtues of Herbal Plants). Meanwhile, there are some meanings to convey, such as not being ‘arrogant’ after feeling ‘great.’ Humans should be friendly with nature. “This art composition wants to convey that we must always love each other with nature as an implementation of the Tri Hita Karana concept,” he said.
Vertically, humans must be able to befriend with God’s grace through plants and animals. Humans cannot live without the plants and animals. On that account, let’s take care of this nature. This art composition is also filled with the tumpek uduh (thanksgiving to plants) ceremony symbolized through the barong kedengkling. “There are some figures like Subali, Sugriwa, and Hanoman becoming the symbols of kama petak (sperm) and kama bang (ovum) as the genesis of the appearance of living beings. It is meant to harmonize nature through ceremonies marked with sasat (ritual marker made of young coconut leaf) and the presence of barong kedingkling,” he explained.
Made Mawan added that the performance was accompanied with gong luang gamelan instrument, a sacred gamelan. However, this time it was not highlighting its sacredness, but rather a medium of harmony with nature. It is considering that gong luang has a unique material made from wood, namely Saron. This instrument is indeed highlighted. Besides, it has small number of instruments such as those in blades and cavity, drums, gongs and additional flutes. Though with minimal personnel, it is able to support various scenes and meet the need for stage atmosphere.
In terms of tone scale, the gong luang utilizes a 7-tone pelog scale, thus giving composers the flexibility to explore other possibilities in gamelan. “This can also support the scenes in this Taru Pramana new format ballet,” he added.
The composition with an-hour duration utilizes costumes in accordance with the theme, so that in certain figure it makes use of natural materials, such as leaves for forest dancers while barong dancers use the fiber of cabbage tree and others. “And to be sure, this composition really implements the Restriction of Community Activities (PPKM). In one scene, the dancers cannot be ten people. They also wear face shields. Both the dancers and musicians have also take the antigen test to ensure a sense of security,” concluded Mawan. (BTN/015)