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A midsummer night’s dream of dance

by Masami Ito

Staff Writer

Looking out with expressive eyes, their fingertips delicately fluttering and their heads and hips swaying in unique angular movements, Balinese dancers have long enchanted people around the world, with their elegant and at times powerful performances.

The annual Asagaya Bali Dance Festival, which takes place on Aug. 2 and 3, offers visitors in Tokyo the opportunity to enjoy both traditional and contemporary Balinese dance with live Indonesian gamelan music.

The event, which first took place in 2002, is held each year at Asagaya Shinmeigu Shrine, and has become a tradition valued by the organizers and participants because of the sacred nature of the dance as a part of Hindu culture. On the Indonesian island of Bali, such dances are traditionally performed at ceremonies and religious rituals.

About 100 musicians and dancers will take the stage to perform a series of ensembles over two evenings, which organizers say they hope will be like a magical “midsummer’s night dream.”

Authentic Indonesian cuisine and drinks will also be available so you can get a full Balinese experience.

The 13th Asagaya Bali Dance Festival takes place on Aug. 2 and 3 at Asagaya Shinmeigu Shrine, a two minute walk from JR Asagaya Station. Doors open at 4 p.m. and the performances begin at 5 p.m. Entry is free of charge. For more information, visit www7b.biglobe.ne.jp/~asabali/index.html.