|Cenik is now
almost eighty years old, but her age does not slow her down as a performer.
She can still perform a full-length Joged Pingitan for 50 minutes
or more. She has the physical stamina to perform for a long time, and her
performances are always breath-taking and riveting. The audience is always
hushed when she is on stage. "I'm poor and I'm small!" she exclaims
with a laugh, recalling her childhood, and pointing out that she never imagined
that she would end up being a dancer.
Cenik is famous for the dance called Joged Pingitan which is a sub-genre of the legong keraton group of dances. Joged Pingitan uses the same vocabulary of movements as can be found in legong keraton but Cenik transformed the dance by introducing a story into the performance, and thus it developed into the Joged Pingitan we know today. The most popular story used in Joged Pingitan is that of Calonarang.
the ancient kingdom of Dirah, Sisya Ni Guyang and Ni Rarung appear. They
are students of the art of black magic and their teacher is the renowned
sorcerer Sira Walu Nateng Dirah. The sorcerer's daughter Ratna Menggali
has been promised in marriage to King Erlangga of Daha. They are all awaiting
the envoy from Daha who will bring news of the wedding plans.
In Daha, the Penasar and Wijil talk about their work as servants to King Erlangga. The king orders them to take a letter to his minister, Patih Murdi. The letter contains the king's decision not to marry Ratna Menggali because the subjects of Daha disagree with his decision. The people, knowing that Ratna Menggali's mother is skilled in black magic, fear that the daughter may also be a sorceress, and that the King and Daha itself would be in danger.
Patih Madri goes to Dirah where he delivers the letter to Sira Walu Nateng Dirah who is very enraged with the news. She tells Patih Madri to return to King Erlangga and tell him to be prepared for many misfortunes which she will bring upon his kingdom.
On his way back to Daha, Patih Madri meets Ni Rarung. She blocks his way and to demonstrate her magical powers she goes to the graveyard and digs up the corpse of a small child which she brings back to life. She argues with Patih Madri and transforms herself into a garuda bird. They fight and she uses her sharp beak to pluck out Madri's eyes. Madri is accompanied back to Daha, and eventually dies.