Masked performances have featured in Balinese life for 1,000 years and etch human, animal and imaginary characters from Hindu philosophy.
Anom is a eminent dancer of a topeng pajegan, a one-man uncover in that he embodies mixed characters. “A facade dancer in Bali, this is like a storyteller,” he explains. “Because a prolonged time ago in Bali, we have no TV, we have no newspapers, we have no internet.” Anom says facade dancing was their form of media to tell people about amicable life, about religion, about Balinese culture.
Culture is a substructure of your life. It is like if we build a house, if we have clever foundations, your residence will stay strong.
Anom, Balinese dancer
“I have to speak with a spirits also. And discuss with a spirit. The suggestion who is a God of a mask,” Anom says. “I entice them to come, to assistance me, to beam me. we am meditative about a story, what we am ostensible to say. Who we am. we am in any singular character. we forget everything. My problems. Sometimes we forget my mother and my kid. we am focused on what we am doing during that time. we have to focus. Like my elders said, if we wish to be a facade dancer, a slightest we contingency do is execute a impression of a mask. That is what it means to be a facade dancer.”
He continues: “Culture is a substructure of your life. It is like if we build a house, if we have clever foundations, your residence will stay strong.”
Topeng dancers contingency have minute believe of Gamelan song and be smooth in 7 Indonesian languages.
I keep alive my culture.
Today, Anom travels a universe educating people about Balinese culture. He is also training his son facade dancing — ensuring a fourth era of his family heritage.
“I am disturbed a small bit,” he admits. “But we have wish in a immature generation. Many immature Balinese people go to work on journey ships. They work for a few months, a few years. They learn another language, they learn another culture. But even when they are distant away, they still remember where they come from.”
Mask performances take place during 20,000 Hindu temples in Bali. They also underline in a Kecak, a dance done renouned by tourism and achieved nightly during Uluwatu.
Anom, who plays many characters any night, says with pride, “I keep alive my culture.”