Panyembrama, The Balinese Way to Welcome

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the painting of Panyembrama

Balinese people are well-known for their hospitality,
and welcoming dances are the norm.

Created by I Wayan Berata about thirty seven years ago, the name of the dance comes from the Balinese word for welcome, "panyembrama". Performed by two or more female dancers wearing tapih (layers of cloth), kamben (sarong), and a belt made of a long cloth that covers the body from waist to chest.

These are colorful traditional balinese fabrics adorned with golden motifs called prada. The dancers's hair is decorated with frangipani and golden flowers, making the looks like angels that have floated down from the sky.

The dancer's movement follow the vibrant gamelan. Enter the stage slowly with smile brightening on their vividly made-up faces. Their wide eyes are accentuated with a touch of vivid black eyeliner, then their slow steps emphasize their curvaceous bodies. According to the creator, all the choreography in the panyembrama dance is a combination of more basic Balinese dances such as legong keraton and condong. Althoungh this particular dance does not tell a story, the classic moves and the smiles on the dancers faces lend it a charming nuance.

Roses, frangipanis, and other flowers play an important role in this dance. Each dancer carries a bokor, an engraved bowl made from silver or alumunium which is filled with flowers. There are two unique routines in this dance. In the first, the dancers kneel and bring their hands together as if they are praying. The routine is actually intended to wish for a blessing from God so that the dancers will perform it perfectly and the audience will be charmed.

The second routine is when all the dancers go around in a circle and scatter flowers over the guests as an expression of welcome. This routine is also a sign that the performance is finished. This is how the Balinese welcome their guest. :)


I, my self, had a chance to enjoy this dance twice. So superb that I love how they are glancing eyes, pounding feet, and.. surely their soft-fingers dance and slender bodies movement. I never bored to enjoy it.


Reference      :  Dance of Bali Book, 2012, by Kartika D Suardana
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