In the early years of Indonesian independence the new national government and a number of the then-emerging political parties actively supported the development of new forms of dance, partly in effort to make use of the popular arts to gain support for political causes.
These efforts resulted in the creation of a number of new genres in Bali, in the Kebyar style of dancing, but based on pantomime and patriotic thematic material which developed from observed activities of everyday life among the common people.
One such creation was the Tari Tani (Peasant Dance), choreographed by a group of artists in Kerambitan, Tabanan Province. In this dance, seven dancers, six women and a man, enact in pantomime the sequence of tasks involved in planting, cultivating, and harvesting rice.
Other dances, portrayed the daily tasks of fishermen and of coffee plantation workers. In his seventieth year, Pak Kaler of Kelandis even attempted to create a dance of this type based on the movements of a badminton player.
The vocabulary of movement employed in these programmatic dances is entirely new and quite realistic. It grew out of the direct observation of nature.
Kebyar style here is overlaid on movement quite foreign to the traditional Balinese dance vocabulary and it can therefore be seen for what it is: a mode of embellishment growing out of a set of rhythmic ideas.
The dances, however, are firmly set to the musical accompaniment provided by the gamelan gong kebyar, newest and most brilliant of the orchestral ensembles of Bali.
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