Last Updated: 01/24/19 | January 24th, 2019
Balinese dancing is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen and going to a performance was a highlight of my travels around Bali.
Balinese dance is an ancient dance tradition that is part of the religious and artistic expression of the people on the island. It is dynamic, angular and intensely expressive. It’s a beautiful, slow-moving, mesmerizing dance!
Balinese dancers express the stories through bodily gestures such as moving their fingers, heads, and eyes in slight, slow, angular patterns that has its roots in Hinduism. Bali dancers start learning as children, spending years and years perfecting their skills.
When I was traveling Indonesia, I saw the dance in Ubud (where most people end up seeing one too). It’s supposed to be the most traditional as well as one of the best places to see a Balanise dancing show as many of the schools are based in Ubud.
I’m not an expert on Balinese dancing so I’m not sure if that is true. However, what is true is that what I saw at the Ubud Palace was phenomenal!
The way the dancers move and time their rhythm to the sound was as unsettling as it was amazing and beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Take a look and see what I mean:
There are several different kinds of dances that you can see during your visit. Some are complex dance-dramas that recount various myths and legends while others are only performed during religious holidays. There are animal-themed performances as well, such as the frog dance and the bird dance. All of the dances use complex hand gestures, facial expressions and movement, as well as more traditional footwork. Students actually learn to dance with their hands before they can walk, with formal training starting at age 7!
Tips for Seeing a Dance Show in Bali
Here are a few helpfuls tips so you can make the most of your experience:
- Dances happen every night of the week. Don’t worry if you are busy one night as there are always performances going on.
- Most performances are in the evening, but there are also a few in the morning on certain days of the week.
- The shows last about 90 minutes and tickets cost between 80,000-100,000 IDR.
- Most dances prohibit flash photography as well as the use of tripods. If you want to take photos, you’ll need to keep this in mind and prepare accordingly!
- Some dances are tied to days of the year, such as the first of the month or a new moon. Check the schedules to see if you’re able to attend one of these less-frequent dances.
- If you want to try your hand at the dance for yourself, take a lesson! There are lots of options for dance lessons in Ubud, ranging from 2-hour classes to day classes. Prices start around 275, 000 IDR per person.
Where to See a Dance Show in Bali
- Uluwatu Temple (Uluwatu Temple, Pecatu, +62 (0)361 904 1163)
- Devdan Show at Nusa Dua Theatre (Nusa Dua Theatre, Jalan Nusa Dua, Nusa Dua, +62 (0)361 770 197)
- Kampoeng Bali (RIMBA Jimbaran Bali by AYANA, Jalan Karang Mas Sejahtera, Jimbaran, +62 (0)361 846 8468)
- Café Lotus Ubud (Jalan Raya, +62 (0)361 975 660)
- Balinese Dance Galore (Made’s Warung Seminyak, +62 (0)361 732 130)
- Legong & Barong Dance (Kunyit Restaurant, +62 (0)361 759 991)
- True Balinese Experience (Conrad Bali, +62 (0)361 778 788)
- Ubud Palace (Jl. Raya Ubud No. 8)
- Seaside Theatre (Alila Manggis, +62 (0)363 41011)
No trip to Bali would be complete without experiencing one of these traditional Balinese performances. They’re uniquely captivating and wholely entertaining and they hold an important place in the local culture.
Don’t miss them!
Book Your Trip to Bali: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. My favorite places to stay are:
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Want More Information on Bali?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Bali for even more planning tips!