7 Best Traditional Balinese Dance to See in Bali

Traditional dance is an essential part of the culture and religious belief, and social life among the Balinese people. Most of the traditional dances in Bali is an old tradition with different histories that includes various type of genres, and purpose. In the early 15th century, cultural beliefs of Balinese and Hindu incorporated through dance. It has a particular history that affects the types of dance and also inspired many forms of dance. In the past, Balinese people performed a dance ritual to fend off evil spirits.

In Bali, there are many kinds of traditional dance dances. According to UNESCO, traditional Balinese dance categorized as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and classified as three different genres; sacred dance, semi-sacred, and for entertainment. The sacred dance only performs during religious events or ceremonies inside Balinese Temples and cannot be shown to tourists.

The semi-sacred dances, often used for ceremonies or rituals but the tourists can watch the performance as entertainment purpose. These dances are rich with traditional values and performed in the compound of pura/temple.

So here are the best Balinese dances you have to see when visiting Bali.

Barong Dance

Barong Dance is the most famous Balinese Dance considering this dance has been performed since the Ancient Hindu until today. Barong is a king of the spirits of Balinese mythology and also a name of the character in this dance.

The story of Barong Dance told us about Balinese village protector, the eternal battle between the good and evil. Barong represented by Barong and evil represented by Rangda. However, in the present day, Barong Dance becomes one of the tourist attractions that you should see when visiting Bali.

Legong Dance

The Legong Dance has initially been performed in the 19th century as a royal entertainment. This dance is mainly performed by two girls who begin rigorous training since their childhood. They are trained to dance such a complex movement of the fingers, feet, and facial expressions. The story of this dance tells about the tale of the King of Lasem who finds a maiden, Princess Ranjasari that lost in the forest and held her captive. Others believe that the Legong Dance was inspired by sanghyang dedari dance, which involves spirits possessing the two dancers.

Kecak Dance

Kecak dance is one of the Balinese dances that well known as the fire dance among tourists. This dance was initially performed in the 1930s, and its story adapted from the Ramayana epic, the battle between Rama and evil king Ravana.

The performance of Kecak Dance usually involves more than 100 shirtless male dancers who wear checkered cloth tied around their waists, chanting “cak” simultaneously and continuously along with throwing up their arms, and making hand movements, too. Some episodes in Kecak Dance feature a fire at the centre of the stage, that is why the dance used to know as the fire dance.

Pendet Dance

The Pendet Dance often performed to welcome guests before the ceremonies or other dances begin. The dancers will carry a small bowl of floral offerings and spread the flowers to purify the temple or theatre where the event will hold. This dance often performed by four or five young girls and believed as a representation of Balinese ritual as a symbol of gratitude, respect, and joy to welcome the presence of gods during temple ceremonies.

Joged Dance

In English, the term ‘joged’ is a common word for dance. The dance was originally used to celebrate the harvest party and conducted by a gamelan ensemble. During the performance, a female dancer or several female dancers will invite the audience to dance along with them.

Topeng Sidhakarya Dance

In Bahasa, topeng means ‘mask’ that wore by the dancers to perform a narrative about the kings, myths, and heroes along by gamelan music. This semi-sacred dance believed to neutralize the evil spirits in the temple, that is why the Topeng Sidhakarya dance always performed shortly after the ceremony is completed.

Baris Upacara Dance

Baris Upacara Dance was originally a sacred dance of Balinese traditional war dance, a dedication of warriors during the temple ceremonies as a sincere offering to God. In the present day, Baris Upacara Dance uses the old form which means the dancer have to undergo rigorous training to gain the flexibility to show the elegance of this dance. Baris in Bahasa means ‘march,’ so this dance often performed with a group of eight to forty male dancers who carry a variety of weapons such as spears or swords and shields, and they march imitating the movement of the warriors preparing to confront the enemy.

If you want to see the performance of traditional Balinese dance, it occurs on a regular schedule depends on the location it may hold. So, you need to make a little research on the internet to find the right schedule.