Balinese Dances

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Barong Dance

Barong Dance
Barong Dance

Bali Island is not only blessed with stunning beaches and extraordinary natural landscapes, the island also has amazing cultural traditions that are still well preserved today. One of the famous Balinese cultural heritage is the Barong dance. Barong dance is an art form that is often associated with spirituality. The dance which is a pre-Hindu cultural heritage, depicts the classic and eternal battle between “Good and Evil” or Dharma and Adharma, has become one of the most famous dances in Bali. Evil is symbolized by Rangda, a scary figure with 2 pointed fangs. Good is symbolized by Barong, a semi-lion or bear that has supernatural powers and is believed to protect mankind.

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Kecak Dance

Kecak Dance
Kecak Dance

The sound “Cak, Cak, Cak” is the typical sound the spectators hear when they see Balinese Kecak Dance performance. This dance is a drama dance played by around 50 to 150 dancers. This is not an ancient dance. It was created by I Wayan Limbak, a master dancer from Bali. In 1930s, he introduced this dance to various countries, assisted by a German painter named Walter Spies. The reason Walter Spies helped Wayan Limbak to create this dance is because Walter was very interested in traditional art. They discussed the intention of making this dance as attractive and beautiful as possible, then introduced it to various countries.

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Pendet Dance

Pendet Dance
Pendet Dance (Photo: pusakapusaka.com)

Pendet Dance is a traditional Balinese dance creation that was very popular in the 1970s to 1980s. At that time there were not many modern dances coming from outside of the island and of course there were no online social media platform that brought all kind of dance creations from around the world to the mind of local people.

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Legong Dance

Legong Dance
Legong Dance (Photo: Kemdikbud)

Legong Dance is one of the world cultural heritages that has been recognized by UNESCO since 2015. This traditional dance from Bali was formerly performed in palaces on the island. The dance is usually performed by two teenage female dancers who have not yet experienced menstruation. The two dancers, known as legongs, will dance in the palace environment under the moonlight. They dance with fans who are their trademark.

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Baris Dance

Baris Dance
Baris Dance (Photo: PHDI)

Baris Dance is a type of war dance that depicts heroic personalities of Balinese male knights. As a war dance or martial dance the story told in this dance revolves around a man before he goes to war. The dance is thought to have been known by the Balinese people since the 16th century, based on records in the Kidung Sunda which are estimated to date from 1550 AD. The manuscript states that there were seven types of Baris Dances performed at cremation ceremonies which lasted about five weeks and was organized by Hayam Wuruk, the greatest king of Majapahit in East Java. From this information, the similar dance which is known in Bali today was once part of a religious rituals in Java.

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Rejang Dance

rejang dance
Rejang Dance (Photo: disbudbuleleng)

Rejang Dance is a dance performed as part of the religious rituals of the Hindu community in Bali. The dance is a traditional Balinese dance to welcome and entertain Gods who came down to earth from heaven. Because the dance is considered sacred, it is performed with a full devotion. During the performance of the Rejang Dance, the dancers line up neatly with unique costumes dominated by a striking yellow color. It is one among the most elegant dances of the island. Rejang Dance may only be performed by women. It is usually danced by a number of female dancers in groups or en masse. In general, they are not professional dancers, so it can be done by anyone, whether old, middle-aged, or young women who have been asked or purified before dancing.

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Sanghyang Dance

Sanghyang Dance
Sanghyang Dance (Photo: wikimedia)

Sanghyang Dance is a sacred dance that is usually not for mass spectacle. This dance is traditionally performed when a village is hit by a disaster. It is only held in sacred ceremonies. It is said that this dance has existed since pre-Hindu era in Bali. So this is an ancient Balinese culture that still exists today. The main characteristic of the dance is where the dancers dance without realizing it. The movements of the dancers are controlled by the spirit that enters their body and they usually close their eyes, often perform movements that are impossible for normal humans to do. In this dance there are important elements: smoke or fire, Sanghyang song and the dancers as sacred media. The dancers can be male or female.

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Janger Dance

Janger Dance (Photo: Indonesia Travel)

Janger Dance is a creative dance inspired by the activities of farmers who entertain themselves when they are tired by singing out loud. The number of dancers in this dance ranges from 10 to 16 pairs of male and female dancers. Janger Dance is one of the traditional dances chosen to enliven the opening ceremony of the biggest sporting event in Asia in 2018 at the Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in Jakarta. The dance experienced its glory in the 1960s and then faded, the popularity of dance returned in the 1970s. The local government of Bali even participated in popularizing this dance as an opening dance for various events or activities such as cultural festivals, anti-drug campaigns, general elections, and so on.

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