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  Abuang Kalah

Although Bali lacks a strong tradition of participatory social dancing, vestiges remain of some manifestations in the social dance realm, especially in the Bali Aga village of Tenganan, Karangasem Province.

There the Abuang Kalah, originally a ceremony but now a kind of performance, take place annually, on the Full Moon of the first month of their calendar.

The Abuang Kalah was originally something of a game, partly a group of social dance, and partly a ceremonial presentation of the eligible young men and women of the village to each other and to the society around them.

The adolescent girls of the village wear the traditional costume of Tenganan, with gold flowers in their hair and the famous grinsing cloth skirt, breast-band, and sash. They dance side by side in a stately line, with their arms perpendicular at shoulder height, to the stately tones of the sacred Gamelan Selonding.

Across from them are the young men of marriageable age, wearing skirt and cape, with a dagger (kris) thrust through the belt behind, and a head-dress of Karangasem silk.

The young women dance while the men opposite them wait somewhat shyly; behind the young men are the elders of the village who look on and comment vociferously.

At last some of the youths gain sufficient courage to move forward to join the girls in dancing; the boys imitate the movements of the girl in mirror fashion.

The participants have not had prior rehearsals. After thirty minutes or so the dancing comes to an end.

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