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The Beauty of Birds on Dainty Dances

Humans are truly mimetic creatures. Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher, defined in his book The Republic that nature is an object represented by humans in the creation of art. Various occurrences in nature serve as inspiration for artists to produce works of art.

According to the German music and dance historian, C. Sachs, dance is rhythmic movement, while birds are beautiful creatures that really understand rhythm. The bird's mesmerizing movements, in sync with the sounds it makes, make it appear to be dancing gracefully. This has inspired various artists in Indonesia to pass down enchanting dances through generations. Each region has its own dance depending on the type of bird in that area.

The Cenderawasih Dance
"The Bird of Paradise" got the nickname because of its beautiful and enchanting physical appearance, which inspired a Balinese artist N.LN. Swasthi Wijaya adapted this native Papuan bird into a captivating dance.

The Manuk Rawa Dance
Inspired by the behavior of a group of water birds--manuk rawa as locals call them—as in the story of Wana Parwa from the Mahabarata Epic, it’s a Balinese classic combined with Javanese and Sundanese dances. Two artists, I Wayan Dibia (choreography) and I Wayan Beratha (composer) collaborated to create the dance.

The Papuliq Kutuk Dance
The dance originates from the Dayak Penyak Tunjung tribe in East Kalimantan, which tells of a girl who likes to hurt birds. Because of that, he was cursed by the God of Nature and turned into a bird. The curse ended when she met a man who truly loved her.

The Merak Dance
A combination of Javanese and Sundanese dance, it expresses the beauty of peafowls. The dance was choreographed by a Sundanese artist named R. Tjetje Soemantri, who intended to feature peafowl’s majesty into a dance performance.

The Gagak Dance
The dance depicts the battle between Tegal Badeng (Badung) troops against a horde of crows—known by locals as guwak or gagak. The Selulung community in Kintamani-Bangli considers this dance sacred.