Sendratari Ramayana (Ramayana Ballet), Jogja, Indonesia

Sendratari Ramayana is such a beautiful performance, where audience can enjoy various of Javanese arts such as dancing, drama and music in one single performance. As the name, this performance plays Ramayana Epic written by Walmiki in Sanskrit language.

The Ramayana story resembles as relief story depicted on Prambanan Temple.  The relief story similar to the oral story in India. The performance is fragmented into 4 parts, Sinta kidnapping, Hanoman mission to Alengka, The death of Kumbakarna /Rahwana and the reunion of Sinta and Rama.

The story is conveyed in a sequence of Javanese dance movement accompanied by gamelan orchestra. No dialog from the dancers, only monolog to picture the story in Javanese.

The story started when King Janaka holds a contest to decide who will be the husband for his daughter, Sinta, that finally won by Rama Wijaya. The story goes by the adventure of Rama, Sinta and Laksmana, Rama’s brother, in Dandaka forest. In the forest they met Rahwana who wants to have Sinta, as he deems that Sinta is the manifestation of Dewi Widowati, a woman that he has been looking for.

To get Sinta attention, he shift one of his man as Deer. She was attracted to the deer and asks Rama to get it for her. As Rama does not return for such long time, she asks Laksmana to look for Rama. Laksmana starts his search for Rama after he makes circle around Sinta, so that no danger can harm her as long she remains inside the circle. That circle fails to protect Sinta, after Rahwana shift himself as Durna figure.

In the end, Sinta can be brought by Hanoman from Rahwana Palace. Hanoman is a powerful  white monkey figure. Returning from Alengka, Rahwana’s Kingdom, Rama doubts her loyalty and purity as his wife. To prove her loyalty, Sinta is asked to burn her body. Shinta could prove herself as loyalty, that her body is not burnt by flame, instead of making her look more beautiful. Rama accept her as his wife happily.

Beside the stunning dance and splendid music, the lighting also designed to strengthen the scene atmosphere. Dancers make up shows their characters, that audience will easily recognize them though the absence of dialog. Acrobatic show of dancers can be watched when Anoman burn Rahwana’s palace or when Sinta burns herself.

There are two places to see the Ramayana ballet in Jogja, first in Purawisata, located on Jl. Brigjen Katamso, east of Sultan palace. Other place is on Candi Prambanan temple complex, where the ramayana relief depicted. Here visitors can see preparation of dancers at backstage (you need to come earlier for this), and make photographs during the show is allowed. In the end of the show, visitors can take picture with the dancers.