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Ubud: That’s Entertainment

Ubud’s Celebrated Evening Show - Balinese Living Arts at Puri Kantor – Every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:00 pm.
The Royal Family of Ubud and Desa Visesa present a regular evening performances by Balinese Living Arts: Siwa Nataraja: Bali Unmasked at 7pm - 8 pm Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at Puri Kantor Palace,  Jalan Suweta, Central Ubud, Bali.

This 45-minutes’ theatrical extravaganza introduces an entirely new concept of art performance by incorporating the ancient story of God Shiva Nataraja and the creative-artistic process. The resulting program showcases thrilling and enchanting dance performances that include: the sacred topeng or mask dance; Topeng Bang - a refined interpretation of the life of Lord Brahma, God of Creation; and Topeng Telek depicting the Lord-God Wisnu -protector and preserver of the Universe. Lesser, supporting characters spring to life on stage  in a Topeng Kras dance portraying a militant character or a playful old gentlemen who emerges behind a Topeng Tua.

The result is an unequaled transformational theatrical representation of sacred Balinese mythology – an evening of theatre with memories to last a lifetime.

This outstanding show is a “must see” during any Bali visit. In a show where the performers mix freely with audience, theatergoers are mesmerized by the music, movements and inspiring storytelling of the dancers. Bali’s rich mask dance repertoire reveals contradictory aspects of the human experience – the sacred and the profane; beauty and ugliness; refinement and caricature - all are juxtaposed. The conclusions are inescapable: every force in life serves the function of helping to balance the cosmos. By surrounding themselves with art, spirituality and nature, the Balinese maintain a delicate balance between themselves and the Gods; between themselves and nature; and ultimately between each other.

Another highlight of the thrice-weekly Siwa Nataraja: Bali Unmasked performance is the masterful display of excellent gamelan playing.

Performed in the open courtyard of the Puri Kantor Palace, guests are emotionally transported by the rich heritage of the locality, a mixture of theatrical and fire-lit lighting, and the rich sound of the pentatonic gamelan that Stamford Raffles compared to the melodious sound of water rushing downstream over rocks.

This show's creators have managed with compelling effect to combine traditional Balinese performance with contemporary stagecraft.

Behind the Scenes

Siwa Nataraja: Bali Unmasked is the latest chapter in the international collaboration between Peter Wilson, an Australian born - director, writer, producer and puppeteer and Balinese performance-master and puppeteer (Dalang) I Made Sidia.

Peter Wilson, has worked in a number of highly acclaimed theatrical productions that include; The Hobbit, King Kong, and The Fall of Singapore  that feature among a long list of production he has brought to the stages of New York, Tokyo, Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London, Paris and Beijing. Peter is a world-acclaimed puppet master and recognized as a major artistic voice in the combination of Western and Eastern theatrical traditions.

Made Sidia is the founder of Sanggar Paripurna - the artistic home of more than 600 students and one of Bali’s leading artistic centers for carving, the fine-arts, painting, dancing, puppetry, gamelan music and religious ritual. Made Sidia has collaborated and performed in international productions earning rave reviews for his artistry along the way.

Siwa Nataraja: Bali Unmasked presents top musicians, dancers and performers attracting an exciting cast of local talented artists from the local village. “You will be inspired by the exceptional dedication of musicians, dancers and infectious passion for arts of the Balinese performers and be enchanted by the imagination inherent in the story line. This show is not like any other shows you have ever seen in Bali,” said Rai Arsana of Desa Visesa.

"Siwa Nataraja: Bali Unmasked’
Performances Every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:00 pm
Puri Kantor Ubud
Bali Living Arts Website

Photos: Kindly Provided by Pascal Maillet