A KEBYAR DUDUK DANCER

 

This unique dance called Kebyar Duduk arose around the 1900’s with the evolution of the gamelan orchestra. It appears to have been solely created by a gifted Balinese dancer named I Ketut Mario (1897-1968) about 1925 for a Kebyar gamelan orchestra performance.

I Ketut Mario played the terompong (an old instrument) in a virtuoso manner during the performance, squatting in a sitting (duduk) position. He wore the costume of a Kebyar Legong dancer and in order to move about in a squatting position, held up the long train of his costume with one hand and this became the hallmark of the dance.

The Kebyar Duduk dance comprises a single male dancer, seated cross-legged in the middle of the orchestra who nimbly undulates his very supple upper torso and hands to the music. The Kebyar Duduk dancer is responsive to the orchestra, projecting every mood and nuance of rhythm. The sitting posture indicates his dependency on the orchestra. Accessories may include a fan and an extra length of narrow gold cloth wound around his torso, the train of which the dancer may pick up and flick around with his hands. He has a headcloth, with a red hibiscus flower over the left ear and wears make-up such as powder and painted lips.

Kebyar Duduk, like Baris, is a solo exhibition dance. In Baris, it is the dancer who dominates the gamelan. In Kebyar Duduk, the dancer is dependent on the gamelan, as typified by his sitting posture throughout the performance. The dance is set to a single musical composition and progresses through a sequence of moods of an idealized Balinese youth who is just at the point of reaching full maturity. He expresses a gamut of emotions, ranging from sweet flirtatiousness to bashfulness, melancholy and angry bravado.  Many of the basic poses, gestures and longer phrases of movement have been adapted from the Legong dance, but they have been made more intricate, more elaborate, and more artificial.

A fascinating video on this performance can be seen at this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fKT02jmJDs

Series A Bali Set A1 Legong and Kebyar Dancers offers a kebyar duduk dancer in two variant poses. Here, we explore the possibility of offering yet another variant, as a more complex figure.  The concept was sketched and painted before work on the figure commenced.

A Sketch of Kebyar Duduk Figure

The idea was formed by substituting the modified fan arm of a legong dancer for the kebyar figure. A head casting more resembling I Ketut Mario was modified and a flower was sculpted above the left ear. Finally, a long train was created from a strip of lead sheet, which was carefully draped over the outstretched left arm and attached to the sarong.

               

Castings used for this conversion                Modified Figure fully assembled

Modified kebyar duduk figure is flanked by Series A Set A1 production figures

 

Kebyar Duduk Figure