Ubud, Bali is known for its rich cultural heritage, and one of the most popular cultural activities is watching a Balinese dance performance. Balinese dance is an ancient art form that has been passed down from generation to generation, and it’s a unique blend of music, drama, and movement.
The performances are held in various venues throughout Ubud, including temples, theaters, and hotels. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Balinese dance and why it’s a cultural experience you can’t miss in Ubud, Bali.
What is Balinese Dance?
Balinese dance is a traditional dance form that originated on the Indonesian island of Bali. It’s a form of dance-drama that tells stories from Hindu mythology and Balinese history. The dance is accompanied by a gamelan orchestra, which is made up of a variety of percussion instruments, including metallophones, xylophones, and drums.
There are several different types of Balinese dance, each with its own unique style and purpose. Some of the most popular types of Balinese dance include:
Legong Dance: This dance is characterized by intricate hand and foot movements and tells the story of a mythical princess.
Barong Dance: This dance is a battle between the Barong (a mythical creature) and Rangda (an evil witch).
Kecak Dance: This dance is performed by a group of men who chant “cak” repeatedly while performing synchronized movements.
Watching a Balinese Dance Performance in Ubud
Watching a Balinese dance performance in Ubud is a unique and memorable experience. The performances are held in various venues throughout Ubud, including temples, theaters, and hotels. The most popular venues for Balinese dance performances in Ubud are the Puri Saren Royal Palace and the Ubud Palace.
The performances usually start in the evening and last for around one hour. The dancers wear traditional Balinese costumes and elaborate headdresses, and the music from the gamelan orchestra is mesmerizing. The stories told through the dance are often based on Hindu mythology and Balinese history, and they are brought to life through the intricate movements of the dancers.
Tips for Watching Balinese Dance in Ubud
Dress Appropriately: When attending a Balinese dance performance, it’s important to dress appropriately. It’s best to wear comfortable clothing and avoid wearing revealing or disrespectful clothing.
Arrive Early: It’s best to arrive early to ensure that you get a good seat. Many performances offer assigned seating, so it’s best to arrive early to claim your seat.
Respect the Culture: Balinese dance is a traditional art form that is deeply rooted in Balinese culture. It’s important to respect the culture and the performers by staying quiet during the performance and refraining from taking photos or videos without permission.
Learn the Story: Before watching a Balinese dance performance, it’s a good idea to learn the story behind the dance. This will help you appreciate the performance and understand the significance of the movements.
Support the Local Community: Attending a Balinese dance performance is a great way to support the local community. Many of the performances are held in temples and other community spaces, and the proceeds from ticket sales go towards supporting the local community.
There are several places in Ubud where you can watch Balinese dance performances. Here are a few popular venues:
Puri Saren Royal Palace: This is one of the most popular places to watch Balinese dance in Ubud. The palace hosts nightly performances of Legong and Barong dance.
Ubud Palace: Another popular venue for Balinese dance performances is the Ubud Palace. The palace hosts nightly performances of Legong and Barong dance.
ARMA Museum: The Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) is a museum and cultural center that hosts regular Balinese dance performances. The performances are held in a beautiful outdoor amphitheater and feature a variety of dance styles.
Padang Tegal Kaja Community Hall: This community hall hosts regular Kecak dance performances. This is a unique style of dance that is performed by a group of men who chant “cak” repeatedly while performing synchronized movements.
No matter where you choose to watch Balinese dance in Ubud, you’re sure to have a memorable cultural experience.