A Prince is born. The Prince marries a girl. The girl is beautiful and virtuous. The prince is banished from his kingdom because of a wicked step-mother. The Evil King falls in love with the Prince’s wife and he kidnaps her. The Prince is angry and wants revenge. With the help of his brother and the Monkey King the Prince goes after the Evil King. A battle erupts. Some people die. The Evil King is killed. The once imprisoned wife is set free. The Prince no longer believes in the wife’s virtue. She then proves her purity and devotion. They live happily ever after. That is, Ramayana Ballet gives legendary performance for you.
The world has heard similar tales, no? But if you have never heard, specifically, of the legendary tale of the Prince Rama and his wife Sita, you are without a doubt missing out on one great piece of mythology. And if you don’t know the story, there is no way you could truly appreciate the piece of art that is The Ramayana Ballet. That is, Ramayana Ballet gives legendary performance for everyone of you.
The Ramayana, from which the Prince Rama and Sita story originates, was written by Valmiki, a robber turned sacred sage sometime between the fifth century BCE and the first century BCE. Valmiki is regarded by historians as the Adi Kavi (First Poet) of Sanskrit literature because of his creation of the Hindu ‘sloka’ or verse. Much of Sanskrit literature is influenced by the sage’s contributions to literature. As a matter of fact, the majority of the great Hindu epics, such as, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Puranas, were written in this verse form. The Ramayana alone consists of 24,000 verses, written into seven chapters, making it almost twice as long as Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad.
Out of the great Hindu epics in Sanskrit literature, it is only the Ramayana, however, which is found depicted in the Prambanan reliefs.
The Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia to date. It was constructed in the ninth century by King Rakai Pikatan specifically in honor of Lord Shiva. The Temple Grounds, however, have close to 240 temples depicting the stories of the Gods Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver), and Shiva (the Destroyer). Ramayana Ballet gives legendary performance for you to remember.
The temples’ narrative panels, which begin on the east side of the entrances, are to be read from left to right, in a circling clockwise motion around the actual temple.
THE RAMAYANA BALLET is a Javanese theatrical depiction of the legendary Hindu epic, The Ramayana.
It is a tale of love and war infused with philosophical anecdotes, danger, morality, personal archetypes, and adventure. The Ramayana Ballet shows the story of Rama, a prince of Kosala, and his inevitable banishment from his kingdom. His Sita joins him in the forests only later to be kidnapped by the demon-king of Lanka. A brother and the Monkey King, Hanuman, are Prince Rama’s main allies as he attempts to rescue his beloved wife.
This plot is incredible! Now, can you imagine hundreds of performers bringing these moments to life right before your eyes?
On special summer nights, the Ramayana Ballet is actually performed outside in front of those two hundred or so intricate Prambanan Temples. The open-air theater on the temple grounds allows for the stage to have an amazing backdrop. As spectators you can marvel at the amazing Javanese culture all the while being mesmerized by the Prambanan temples’ beauty. Make sure to bring a camera. Those are once in a lifetime moments in the making.
Unfortunately, though, mother-nature can sometimes not be cooperative, and when the fresh air of Central Java gives way to rain, thunder, and lightening, the performers bring the ancient story to life in the TriMurti theatre. And in the Ramayana Story performed in Prambanan there will be two style of performance, the full story and the episodes. The full story will only performed at the full moon,while the episodes will be perform any other day beside the full moon.
For those who may be overwhelmed with so much cultural richness and actually prefer to enjoy the arts outside of the temple walls, they need only to watch the show a short trip away in Purawisata theatre which is in the middle of the city of Yogyakarta.
Since 1976 there has been a staged performance of Ramayana Ballet every single night in Purawisata. That is dedication. Almost 40 years of non-stop traditional dance and art deserves respect, reverence, and attendance.
The wonderful dancing, the beautiful music, the elaborate costumes all add to the grandness of this performance piece. It seems as if each performer has dedicated years to mastering this art, and new generations are being inducted into the craft at an early age because of their love of the art. The Ramayana Ballet gives legendary performance for you to remember.
Such amazing storytelling will never cease because it is an epic tale that continues to be seen, heard and felt throughout the generations.
Love and War. That is a timeless theme, isn’t it. It also makes for great theatre.
So the next time you want to plan an epic family vacation filled with history, beautiful landscapes, and rich cultural folklore, make sure to reserve your seat for a performance of the Ramayana Ballet. Ramayana Ballet gives legendary performance for you to remember.