10 Magnificent Bali Traditional Dance Performances You Must Watch

Bali is indeed famous as one of the adventurous spots in Indonesia which has various kinds of natural beauty, starting from tourist objects, such as beaches and mountains, the culinary delights that make the tongue sway, to the culture that has been inherent from generation to generation from our ancestors. Bali is a place that has a variety of dances that are part of Indonesia’s cultural heritage.

Bali traditional dance is an ancient dance tradition that is part of the religious and artistic expression among the Balinese. Bali traditional dance is dynamic, angular, and intensely expressive. Balinese dancers express the stories of dance-drama through bodily gestures including gestures of fingers, hands, head, and eyes.

Here are 10 traditional Bali dances that could hypnotize you with their own unique characteristic!

1. Kecak Dance

Who doesn’t know the Kecak dance? Kecak dance is a Bali traditional dance that has been very popular and has become one of the typical performances that tourists are hunting for.

kecak - bali dance

This dance was created by Wayan Limbak and Walter Spies in 1930. This dance tells the epic story of Ramayana and on average all the dancers are men. The number of dancers who performed the Kecak Dance was more than tens.

If you take a trip to Bali, set aside less than 30 minutes to watch the Kecak Dance performance, you will see the dancers sitting in a circle and shouting “cak” while raising both arms. The next thing depicts the monkey army as fitting to support Rama against Rahwana. There are also dancers who play other Ramayana characters.

This dance is often praised by foreign tourists for its uniqueness, even though it only sounds “cak-cak-cak” but some groups sound it with different beats. It feels like a group of thousand men shouting the word “cak-cak-cak” even though there are only tens of them. This is the uniqueness of Kecak dance. This dance is presented very simply, but the mystical atmosphere is still there forever.

2. Trunajaya Dance

Trunajaya dance comes from the word teruna, which means youth, which was found from the creation of Pan Wandres during his journey and added by I Gede Manik.

This dance tells the story of a man who dreams of attracting women. It can be seen from every firm movement where the legs are spaced like horses. Even so, along with the growth of the era, this dance was not only carried by men. Women are also able to participate, especially by 2 people at once.

When analyzed, the dancer forever widened his eyes and firmly moved his dance movements, it seemed creepy but this is to show male virility. This dance is mostly accompanied by the gamelan music Gong Kebyar, which can be performed anywhere because it is for entertainment purposes only.

3. Barong Dance

Barong, sounds similar to Barongsai, right? However, this dance is not from China. Indonesia itself has the Barong dance which was inherited long before the existence of Hinduism.

This dance tells about the confrontation with virtue symbolized by Barong, and evil which is depicted by the figure of the Rangda.


According to some literature, the word Barong comes from the origin of the word Bahruang which means bear. Even so, the form of the depicted animal can vary depending on the type of Barong dance being brought. There are Barong Bangkal, Barong Macan, Barong Asu, Barong Gajah, Barong Blasblasan, and Barong Landung. And of course the most famous, namely Barong Keket or Barong Ket which depicts a mix in tigers, lions, and cows.

This dance is usually danced by 2 men, one of whom plays the head and the other is the member of the tail. Most of the Barong bodies are made of leather and decorated with Balinese carvings coupled with pieces of mirror glass ornament to make it look shiny.

Barong feathers are made of palm fiber, although some are made from crow feathers. As for mask members, most of them are made of wood that grows in areas that are recognized as sacred or haunted. This dance is accompanied by gamelan Gong Kebyar, gamelan Batel and gamelan Babarongan.

Click here to find out more about cultural museums in Bali!

4. Legong Dance

In the era of the Balinese kingdom, this dance was only performed in the palace. The word Legong itself comes from the origin of the word leg which means flexible and gong which means traditional drum or gamelan. Because of that, this dance has graceful movements accompanied by a traditional Balinese gamelan called Semar Pegulingan. In addition, some dancers who play Legong wear fans.

In Bali, there are several types of Legong Dance that have developed over time, namely the Legong Keraton or Legong Lasem, Legong Legod Bawa, Legong Jobog, Legong Smaradahana, Legong Sudarsana and Legong Kuntul.

5. Pendet Dance

At first, this Bali traditional dance was a dance of worship that was performed in temples in Bali.

Pendet dance can be called a form of welcoming the descent of the gods into the world. Over time, the dance artists on the island of Bali turned this dance into a welcoming dance for tourists.

The modern version of Pendet Dance was created by I Wayan Rindi in the 1950s. I Wayan Rindi is an artist who has spent his life observing all Balinese dances.

Pendet is a statement of an offering in the form of a ceremonial dance. Unlike performance dances which require intensive training, Pendet can be danced by everyone, male and female, adults and young people alike.

This dance is taught simply by following the movements and is rarely performed in Banjar. The young girls followed the movement of older women who understood their responsibility to set a good example.

6. Baris Dance

As the name implies, baris which means lining, baris dance is formed in a lining position.

Baris Dance is a traditional Bali dance that was originally a form of ritual, but over time this dance became an entertainment dance. Baris dance was created in the mid-16th century.

Baris Dance is a type of traditional war dances from Bali accompanied by gamelan. This dance depicts the feelings of a young hero before he goes to war, praising the masculinity of Balinese heroes and showing the stability of his leadership.

This dance is usually performed by at least 8 to a maximum of 40 men. The costumes for this dance are Badog, Lamak, Awir, velvet clothes, trousers, and others, such as knights complete with headdress, back, and chest.

However, the dancers’ costumes worn in each region in Bali are not the same – they differ because each region has its own distinctive Baris Dance. This dance is included in sacred dances so that it is only performed when there are specific celebrations and sacred ceremonies.

Click here to find out more about Balinese Sarong!

7. Panji Semirang Dance

This dance was created by an artist named I Nyoman Kaler in 1942. Panji Semirang dance is recognized as a performance dance, which is performed outside the temple.

This dance tells about a daughter named Galuh Candrakirana who is wandering and disguised as a man by the name of Raden Panji. The princess carried out her journey after losing her husband. Usually danced by female dancers who act as men.

In this dance, you will see the dancers whose eyes are wide like someone who is angry, peppered with smiles but forever with fierce eyes. There is a change in expression in some movements.

8. Puspanjali Dance

Puspanjali is a traditional Balinese dance that is a form of welcoming. The function of Puspanjali Dance as a welcoming dance is reflected in its name, puspa which means flower and anjali which means respect. To conclude, as a whole it can be interpreted as “honoring guests like flowers” which illustrates the amount of respect the host has for the arrival of their guests.


Puspanjali dance is performed by a group of female dancers totaling 5 to 7 people. This dance is inspired by the dances performed at the Rejang ceremony which depicts a group of women who are happy with the presence of guests who come to their area.

This dance was created in 1989 by a Balinese dancer named N.L.N. Swasthi Wijaya.

9. Balinese Topeng Dance

The existence of topeng (mask) in Balinese society is closely related to Hindu religious ceremonies because art is dissolved in religion and society. Indonesia itself has a lot of Topeng Dances in some regions, such as Dayak, Cirebon, Malang, and many more.

bali mask dance

Balinese Topeng Dance is a tradition that is thick with the nuances of magical rituals, generally what is displayed in the community is a sacred art. The magic of the masks that represent the gods is believed to be able to bestow peace and safety.

Click here to find out more about ceremonies in Bali!

10. Panyembrama Dance

Panyembrama is a secular Bali traditional dance form designed by I Wayan Berata and first performed in 1971. This dance includes movements from several sacred Balinese dances.


The name Panyembrama, comes from the Balinese word Sambrama, which means “welcome”. The meaning contained in this dance is hospitality and respect as an expression of welcome to the guests.

Those are all the 10 Bali traditional dances that could hypnotize you with their uniqueness. Each dance has its own meanings and purposes, so make sure you take a look at their dance performances when you are in Bali! See you in Bali, Flokqers!

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