Seeing one of Bali’s traditional dances is a “must-do experience”.
An Integral Element of Balinese Life
Balinese Dances & Traditional Performances are a dynamic form of art with a strong connection to religion. It is an important part of Balinese culture and serves as a means of connecting with the gods, either as a welcome for visiting gods or as a communication channel in certain trance dances. Every performance will begin with an offering, and dancers will pray on the day of the performance to receive Taksu, which has no direct English translation but can only be described as divine inspiration. The dances are most traditionally done on a weekly basis during temple festivals and important ceremonies at some locations designated for tourists to observe.
Many Balinese dances take their cues from the Ramayana and the Mahabarata, two Hindu epics that have served as the basis for centuries of storytelling. The tradition of these forms and movement are passed on to girls and boys from a very young age. Young Balinese children are subjected to “rigorous” learning standards and high expectations as they learn to tell tales via dance-drama. These days, visitors may take classes in traditional Balinese villages and see professional dancers perform at their resorts or private villas, sometimes accompanied by a traditional Balinese gamelan orchestra.
All parts of the body, including the face, eyes, and hands, need to move with life and grace in order to dance well and to tell stories. All around Bali, but notably in the villages of Ubud and Gianyar, you may find really talented dancers and instructors. There have been many famous dancers from Gianyar who have traveled to perform on international stages, and they often date back hundreds of years.