“We’re with the Princesses”

legong dancers gazing outUbud, Bali, August 2010


Balinese dancers blow Disney princesses out of the water — and I’m not just talking about the Island of the God’s own Indian Ocean. It’s any body of water. No question. I didn’t even have to look at the reaction of my three-year-old daughter Kasey, who before the Legong dance performance began, was partial to the blonde contingency of Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel  and Cinderella.

dancers in unison

My own eyes confirmed that Balinese dancers reigned supreme as we watched them flex their fingers backward, snap their fans, jerk their heads to the side and slide their bare feet at 90 degree angles across the stage in slow-mo unison — not to mention, the Balinese “princesses” displayed more gold than the Magic Kingdom’s reserves. 

more gamelanThe striking sound of the gamelan, a collection of Indonesian percussion instruments, amped up the dramatic presentation. It sounded a bit like an ensemble consisting of a hard core heavy metal xylophone, steel drum and reedy flute. The xylophone, or metallophone, when struck by the musicians’ mallets, prompted the hairs to rise on the back of my neck.

Meanwhile, the dancers’ movements transfixed Kasey and my five-year-old son, Eddie, in addition to securing a second wind for them. Even Kurt, my husband who wasn’t always as exuberant about all the cultural activities I dragged him to see, sat ramrod straight with focus. At the very least, the dancers distracted us from the heinous humidity that still hovered in the stagnant August evening air.

Continue reading

The Travel Ahh…A Lasting Impression

© Stephanie Glaser

When traveling with kids, you hope they will appreciate culture as much as you do. You also, when they are young, hope they will remember what they have experienced. In 2010, the beautiful dances of Bali, in particular, Legong Dancing, definitely made an impression on my daughter Kasey.

We went to a show in Ubud that was spectacular. Then, little did we know, we would see more Legong dancing in several restaurants (geared for tourists). The striking music always caught our attention — especially Kasey’s. She would look around and wait for the princesses to come out.

For her, these beautiful princesses, who were unlike the Disney princesses that she loves, captivated her even more. The music that complements the dancing so well also stuck with her.

Continue reading