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Balinese Dances

Nothing beats the magic of watching a traditional Balinese dance under the stars on the island where it all began. Dance is one of the most important art forms in Bali, so anyone visiting this stunning island should make sure not to miss the chance to catch a show if they can.

Balinese dances are an ancient tradition on the island and are a mix of religious features as well as traditional folklore. This makes them a mesmerizing sight to behold, and many of these dances feature storylines from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Many of the dances also feature gorgeous elaborate costumes, set pieces such as fire rituals, and hypnotic drum beats that will delight you if you have never seen this kind of spectacle before.

 

The Barong Dance:

Image Credit: www.commons.wikimedia.org

 

There are a huge number of different kinds of Balinese dance, many of which differ according to which region of Bali you are visiting, but one of the most famous is the Barong dance. This dance features a main character who watches over Balinese villages and protects them from harm, and who is easily recognizable thanks to his fanged mask and long, unruly hair. As the dance progresses, you will be able to make out the motifs of good fighting against evil to protect the village.

Top places to watch the dance:

Puri Saren, Ubud.

Tickets start at IDR 80,000.

Batubulan Village, Gianyar.

Tickets start at IDR 100,000

Catur Eka Budi, Kesiman, Denpasar.

Tickets start at IDR 80,000.

 

The Kecak Dance:

Image Credit: www.commons.wikimedia.org

 

Another dance that you are most likely to see in Bali is the well known Kecak dance. The dance is actually not as old as you might think and was created in the 1930s and started life as a ritual chanting session rather than an actual dance piece. Nowadays, however, there is a dance component to the chanting which is accompanied by drum beats, and if you get the chance to catch a show then this is one of the quintessential Balinese experiences.

Top places to watch the dance:

Batubulan Village, Gianyar.

Tickets start at IDR 100,000.

Bona Village, Gianyar.

Tickets start at IDR 100,000.

Uluwatu Temple, Uluwatu.

Ticket start at IDR 100,000.

 

The Legong Dance:

Image Credit: www.pixabay.com-keulefm

 

As well as the Barong and Kecak dances, one of the most well-known dances in Bali is the Legong dance which is based on an East Javanese legend from the 12th century. The story goes that a maiden is abducted and imprisoned, and a long battle ensues in order to set her free, all of which is acted out through exquisite dance moves and lyrical music.

Top places to watch the dance:

Puri Saren, Ubud.

Tickets start at IDR 80,000

Peliatan Village, Ubud.

Tickets start at IDR 75,000.

Pura Dalem Puri, Ubud.

Tickets start at IDR 75,000.

 

Best places to watch a dance:

You can catch a show all over the island, but many locals will tell you that one of the best places to experience a traditional dance is in the cultural heart of Bali, Ubud. Many of the dances are only performed at certain times of the year or for sacred occasions, so you may not be able to see all the kinds of dances when you visit. If you are in Ubud, then one of the main places to catch a show is Puri Saren which is also the home of the Ubud Royal Palace and is a regal setting to take in a show if you get the chance.

Image Credit: www.c1.staticflickr.com

 

If you want to see the Barong dance in particular, then you need to head just outside of Ubud to neighboring Gianyar, where you can visit Batubulan Village. Here you will find regular shows of the Barong dance held throughout the year. The village also doubles as an art village where you can learn more about Balinese handicrafts and culture.

Image Credit: www.commons.wikimedia.org

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