Asia Traditional Dance: A Communication through Movements
The diverse cultures, religions, and traditions of the Asian countries are reflected not only in their lifestyles but also in their art forms. This mystic continent, its rich oriental essence and aesthetic fervor, is a treasure trove of distinct cultural varieties reflected especially in various performances. These art forms, including music, drama and dance, go a long way to represent various regions and cultures of the continent. The mythical stories, the tribal, and religious rituals from their everyday events that signify good and bad are what inspired some of these Asian dances. The various subtle and distinct dance traditions of Asia which are persistently showcased throughout the globe even today are true emblems that reflect the cultural heritage of many nationalities, societies, religions, and ethnic groups in the continent. Each country in Asia has several indigenous and ethnic groups within its own country. These groups have their own unique identities and traditions, which are also visible in their dances. These create several dancing diversities for each country.

Dance is one way of communications just like a verbal language when combining the interesting histories, captivating traditional music, meaningful movements and mythology, these art forms can communicate to you without having to understand a word of their language.
Kathakali - Dancing Eyes in India’s Ancient Dance Form
Renowned worldwide, Kathakali's magnificence has won great admiration for the state of Kerala. Kathakali originated on Kerala’s shores over 300 years ago. The dance combines devotion, drama, music, colourful costumes and make-up into a divine experience for all who get to view it. Kathakali retells ancient stories from Hindu legends, the Indian epics, that leave one spellbound at the depth and intricacy of the performance. Every single quiver of the lips, flicker of the eyes or movement of the hands has great significance. The dance synthesizes music and voice with delicate and dramatic choreography that uses whole body movement and facial gestures to retell the India’s ancient stories and legends. The detail within the performance and the accuracy required in executing the movements and gestures takes a lifetime to perfect. Kathakali artists will tell you that they are learning and perfecting this artform almost from the cradle to the grave.

With the average time required to prepare a single dancer for a performance being four hours, the costumes and colors of a Kathakali performance are truly... [Read More]
Apsara Dance – A Harmony of Past and Present in
Cambodia’s Way of Life
Meaning ‘water nymph’ or ‘celestial spirit’, the Apsara is deeply rooted in ancient Hindu mythology. Legend has it that Apsaras are beautiful, divine female creatures that descend from heaven to entertain both gods and kings with their enchanting dance. Legend also says that the beautiful beings were born from the Churning of the Ocean of Milk, also referred to as Samudra Manthan in Hindi or Ko Samut Teuk Dos in Khmer. Apsaras appear in both ancient Hindu and Buddhist texts and artworks and are beautifully depicted in the art of Angkor Wat with their story stunningly depicted on a 49-metre bas-relief set into the walls of Angkor Wat, and their form appearing in sandstone carvings throughout the temple complex but perhaps most beautifully in the pink sandstone carvings of the lonely Bantei Srei temple, located deep within the Angkor Archeological Park. Since the spirits are meant to entrap mortals with their beauty, similar in some ways to the Mermaids, Nymphs and Sirens of western mythology, the dance moves reflect this idea and include slow-paced, mesmerizing moves that hypnotize the audiences... [Read More]
Manohra – The Mythical Bird Dance of Southern Thailand
The Manohra Dance is believed to have originated in Phatthalung, Southern Thailand, towards the end of Thailand’s Ayutthaya Period (1351–1767). More a ceremony and ritual than simply a dance, the Manohra Dance is a form of dance-drama inspired by a story from the Jataka, a collection of stories about former lives of the Buddha. The dance tells the story of Prince Suthorn and the Kinnaree, Manohra, who fall in love and like all great stories includes a love affair, jealousy, scheming, a rescue and a happy ending – and not a car chase in sight. A Kinnaree is a mythical and magical creature, half bird and half human.

The dance often forms a key part of a ceremony used to repay a promise to the spirit world – a common practice in Southeast Asia where spiritual help is invoked on the promise of repayment in the form of offerings or special performances. A variation on the Manohra, locally known by its shortened form ’Nora’ can last 3 days and involve mediumship and spirit possession to benefit from wisdom and advice from the other side as well as repay a promise to the spirit world... [Read More]
Margapati Dance Bali - The Dance of the Savage Lion
Since forever, Bali’s cultures and traditions have been firmly tied to the natural world and the environment. The many religious rituals are delivered both in honour, and as gifts, to the ancestors, nature and the spirit world. With beautiful offerings and eye-catching cultural performances, many of Bali’s artistry and art forms were born out of the need for ever more creative offerings to gods and the spirits of the ancestors.

With nearly 90% of ethnic Balinese being practicing Hindus, it is no surprise that many of the dance forms are inspired by classical Indian dance where the intricacy of hand gestures and facial expressions are such an important part of the art... [Read More]

One of Secret Retreats’s favourite properties on Bali, the owners of which take the conservation of Bali’s heritage and arts very seriously, is one of the best places on the island to see the Margapati Dance performed in all its regal glory. Be sure to contact the Secret Retreats Concierges when planning your next trip to Bali and Indonesia and we will help you build and book an itinerary full of travel wonders, secret spots and local knowledge sharing the best of each destination’s heritage, culture and tradition with you and your loved ones.

...Enjoy the Margapati Dance - part of the Hotel Tugu Bali experiences...

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These experiences and many more, sharing the cultural, heritage, traditions and gastronomy of our destinations in Asia all await you on a Journey with Secret Retreats. Expect to make lasting memories and experience the many layers of luxury travel in Asia with Secret Retreats.

Why not start planning to fulfill your authentic Asia travel bucket list by contacting the Secret Retreats Concierges today. We’re looking forward to hearing from you! start planning your Asian journey
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