Traditional and new Dances
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Joged bumbung

Amusement Dances

Balinese is the only ethnic of Indonesia who consider art of dancing and music are as important as other aspect of life. A theory said that art only grow well in a country where welfare is already reached, at least in Bali is not all correct. Balinese introduces stage art from drama, dance mixed dance and drama, and music. Balinese traditional stage performances almost all the combination between drama and dance for example the " Arja " and " Topeng". Arja is a purely amusement performance presented over nightly during a temple ceremony, while Topeng or performance wearing mask presented more during family ritual, but not limit themselves to perform at the bigger temples ceremony. Barong dance for example is a mixed performance of drama, dance, clone and pantomime. The popularity of a drama in Bali is actually rest on the ability of the clones to present their funny action or attitude, and little on the basic theme of the dance. A different drama can be seen such as the Wayang Puppet show which is also often performed over nightly during family ritual.

Janger dance

Amusement Java and Bali

The tradition of Wayang puppet show no doubt it originated from Java which might developed during Hindu kingdom of Mataram of 9th century. That is why the figures of wayang puppet made in Java and Bali look almost the same. The same as other art in Bali dances are also dedicated to religion at the beginning. To make clear border between dance as the requirement of temple rituals and pure amusement, Balinese has ruled out a ritual that will be conducted by an establishment of a dance group, as Balinese from the beginning has known a sacred and profane dance. That is why the same dance can be either shown to the public and used as sacred dance for the completion of a temple ritual. Dance group with their accessories and main equipments which are not given a ritual of " pasupati " meaning literally " bring into life " is a profane dance.

Barong landung

Sacred Dance

There are some dances such as Rejang dance, pendet dance, and Sanghyang dance with no reason can not be used as public amusement unless it is modified, not to copy in all form. For example Panyembrama dance is inspired by Rejang dance, while Rejang has different form only the petals spread to the guest is copied. The famous welcome dance of Bali which is known as " Panyembrama" is definitely copied from the Rejang dance.

Beside traditional dance and drama already performed by Balinese, new creation also appeared such as Kecak dance, and various dances imitating animal behavior such as deer, goose, bird, and others. These newly created dances are all for the purpose of amusement, or academy to develop ability of children in appreciation of Balinese traditional dance and adjusted to the new trend on costume and theme. When one joins a tour program in Bali one can watch Barong dance Kecak dance which are specially performed on regular schedule. Late afternoon tour to Ubud artist colony for example, can also watch a Legong dance at the palace of Ubudat Rp 80.000 per ticket.

Topeng dance

Trance Dance

A dance with trance is only during the performance of sacred dances such as Sanghyang dance, Calonarang dance, and Barong dance, the trance is experienced by the Kris dancers, and as a symbol this can be watched at regular Barong dance. Together with dances is the music. Bali has various traditional music instruments from those made of bamboo, wood, leather and bronze mixed with metal. The name of Bali traditional music are gong, angklung, gender, tingklik, gambuh, and tektekan. Gong consist of various instruments such as gangsa ( melody ), riong and terompong ( melody ), kendang ( bas ), ketuk ( match ) cenceng ( cymbal for intensity and disintensity), gender ( bas - melody ), 2 big gongs ( more function like strong bas/match ). The same instrumental composition is also made for Angklung Bali traditional music instruments. While bamboo music instrument is used for an amusement dance called " Joged ". A set of bamboo music for Joged consist of normally 6 sets of melodies, drum, small cymbals, ketukand flutes. The basic of its melody is sexatonic which is in Javanese and Balinese traditional music known as " Slendro" This bamboo instrument is known in Bali as " tingklik or rindik", and often played only this instrument without other set. At the front office of a big hotels or restaurants, this instrument is often only 2 sets played by 2 persons. Gender is played separately with its specific composition during the wayang puppet show. Gender has the melody structure of Slendro, which is played with or without the kendang ( drum ) and bamboo flutes.

Janger danceJoged danceBarong landungTopeng dance Garis Bali


Among various tour packages and tour options in Bali there are some tours which can be said always on the publications and interest a large part of travellers to Bali. Kintamani mountain tour sits at the first number as the most popular sightseeing tour, second is Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot tour, third is Uluwatu temple tour.