Want to be entranced for an hour? Go to a Balinese Dance Performance in Ubud. Balinese dance is an ancient tradition native to Bali Island. Known for their facial expressions, the performers use their face and hands to tell the story of the dance. Balinese Dancers perform most nights at many of the temples in Bali with different performances at each. Signs posted outside of the temples will tell you which dance is being performed and on what day of the week. The two shows that will be reviewed in this article are the Spirit of Bali and Kecak Fire Dance.
The Spirit of Bali
Balinese Dancers and musicians open the Spirit of Bali dance with a procession down the aisle playing Bale Ganur, cymbals. This procession ends on stage where the women go change in the back and the men sit on stage and play a musical ensemble for the first act. You will witness 30-40 men beautifully playing music on their instruments. In the second and remaining acts, the women come out and dance in perfect unison. Many combinations of these dances are performed. Later in the evening arrives the Monkey King. All the intenseness of this dance is from his eyes, as his face is covered by a mask. He is the highlight of the show.
Kecak Fire Dance
Starting at dusk, the Kecak Fire Dance is the most popular by tourists and locals alike. The start of the show is 100 men sitting in a circle, chanting around a 6-foot candelabra. They chant and sway while two women come out and perform a few dances. It tells a story of Garuda, the King of all Birds. A large bonfire adorns the stage, created by the chanting men. Once the fire turns to embers, the fire dancing begins. A horsemen dances over the embers and kicks them across the stage. Two men quickly sweep them back into a mound, where the process of the horseman dancing and kicking takes place again. He continues to dance and kick the embers until they are all gone. This show is great for pictures. Don’t forget your camera!
Location and cost
The Spirit of Bali is performed on Tuesdays at 7:30 PM at Jaba Pura Desa Kutuh. From Jalan Raya Ubud, head North on Jalan Tirta Tawar for 500 meters. You will see the temple hall on the right side. The cost for this show is 75,000 IDR (5.50 USD). The Kecak and Fire dance is performed nightly at dusk at Uluwatu temple that is located at the end of Jalan Pantai Suluban. The cost for this show is 100,000 IDR (7.33 USD). These are just two of the shows; many others can be found all around Ubud. Check out these other places in Ubud for show times: Puri Saren Palace, Puri Dalem Puri, and Padang Tegal.
A lasting impression awaits
Whether you pick the fire dance or another dance to see while you’re in Bali, you’ll be in awe of the dancers and their movements. The costumes are elaborately decorated with gold sashes and brightly printed cloth. With each dance narrating the story through the use of percussion instruments and voices chanting, every performance is sure to leave a lasting impression to all those who are lucky to witness one.
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