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Gay Bali

Balinese Art:

Painting, sculpture, woodcarving, handcrafts, and the performing arts are some of the diverse and sophisticated art forms of Bali. Gamelan, the Balinese percussion orchestra music, is well-known. Hindu epics such as the Ramayana are performed with Balinese influences, and dances here include pendet, legong, baris, topeng, barong, gong keybar, and kecak, the famous monkey dance.

Renowned foreign artists such as the Dutch Rudolf Bonnet, the Australian Donald Friend and, most famously in the 1930's, the German, Walter Spies, contributed to the cultural East/West synthesis that is seen in Bali today. It was Spies who re-choreographed the kecak from several local performance traditions, increasing the number of male performers and stripping them to loincloths to chant/chatter by the light of a central fire.

Balinese performing arts have profited from tourism, the chief source of income on this most prosperous of Indonesian islands, providing a foreign audience eager to pay for entertainment. But care is taken to separate the sacred from the commercial aspects of these arts. Since the 1930s rituals such as the barong dance have been performed both in traditional local contexts, as well as for tourists, resulting in new versions catering to tourists' preferences. Some villages keep one mask for non-ritual performances, in addition to the older one for sacred purposes. Most temples have inner and outer courtyards, and performances in the inner courtyard, classified as "wali," are offered exclusively for the gods.