With flowing arm movements but with hands stretched rigid, fingers quivering, the Children of Bali made a ceremonial entrance down the middle of the sold-out audience seating area at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center on Friday.
The troupe, made up of dancers age 10-15, appeared dressed in simmering greens, golds and oranges, wearing golden aprons, peaked helmets or headdresses crowned with flowers.
With eyes staring wide open or darting from side to side or lowered modestly, the dancers executed quick shifts between acute-angle poses, their neck movements gracefully transporting the head from side to side to signal the end of a dance phrase.
The program opened with a slow, graceful Rejang for six girls, and ended with a episode from the dance drama "Legong Keraton," in which the Prince of Lasem is threatened by the Bird of Ill Omen for attempting to seduce the Princess Langkesari.
In between, two boys' solos exhibited a range of virtuosic purpose. In "Kebyar Duduk," 13-year-old Ida Bagus Putra Kenaka Wedana executed quicksilver moves and freezes, including a series of squatting turns. In "Baris Tunggal," 12-year-old I Made Bagus Basuki Mahardika showed a young warrior exercising feints and attacks as preparation for battle.
After the Children of Bali, audience members moved to the upper meadow to watch Larry Reed offer an heroic and humorous shadow play in Balinese and English involving characters from the "Mahabharata." Simultaneously, in the lower theater, the Uwanuda Kagura troupe from Japan was scheduled to offer a repeat of the previously reviewed "Yamata-no-oro-chi."