I took the photograph above at a performance at the Royal Palace in Ubud, Bali. The arts in Bali are part of the daily culture and I think it is safe to say most performers are excellent amateurs with different day jobs, although I know there are many professionals as well. This appeals to me because I, too, am a serious amateur musician. Many years I performed operettas in community theater and for the lasts eight years I have been a member of a large concert band that rehearses at the university near my home!
While there are many different Balinese dances, the base costumes are constructed the same way, which are long pieces of fabric wrapped around the body, sometimes quite tightly.
Then there are amazing collars, headdresses, belts, masks and huge animal figures similar in construction to sport mascots in the US.
I wish I could have seen the dancers preparing to perform and I wish I could have seen some of these costumes being made. I hope to go back and I've asked my guide if he could arrange this for me on a future trip ... keep your fingers crossed.
But, I've done the next best thing, which is look for good images on line.
Please note all the men are wearing sarongs made of the black and white sacred cloth that looks like gingham to me. And this video shows some of the large structured costumes and masks.
But, finding these Youtube performances, is REALLY making me want to go back. Of all the places we visited Bali is the one I really would like to see again. Even if it does require a too long, uncomfortable flight and hours of jet lag.