Traditional Dance Performances in Batubulan

The performance of traditional dances is one of Batubulan’s biggest tourist attractions. Notably known for Barong and Kecak, these performances are guaranteed to leave the audience in absolute awe. Typically performed in an open theater, the state is strategically located on the center, making it easier for visitors to enjoy the performances.

Traditional dance performances are held everyday, with all performances done by locals who have perfected their skills to entertain people. All performances are extremely well-prepared and no move goes unplanned.
Morning dance performances usually start with Legong, followed by Barong, and end with Keris. Later in the afternoon, Kecak starts just before the sun sets.

Before booking a ticket, make sure to read this article to provide a little context of what you’re about to get yourself into. Here are the traditional dances performed in Batubulan, prepare to be amazed as dance performances in Batubulan are sure to be unforgettable!

Legong is a refined dance form from Bali, characterized by its intricate finger movements, complicated footwork, and expressive gestures and facial expressions. Legend has it that a prince of Sukawati fell ill and had a vivid dream in which two maidens danced to gamelan music. Once recovered, the prince made sure to realize this dream and since then, the dance had been performed as royal entertainment. It is also believed that the Legong dance originated with the sanghyang dedari, a ceremony involving voluntary possession of two little girls by beneficent spirits.

Traditionally, Legong was performed by girls who have not yet reached puberty. However, in the present day, dancers may be of all ages.
Classic Legong enacts several storylines, however the most common one follows the tale of the Austin King of Lasem from the Malat, a collection of heroic romances. While at war with another king, specifically the father/brother of Princess Ranjasari, Lasem wishes to marry the princess. The Princess detests Lasem and proceeds to run away, ending up lost in the forest. At last, she is captured by Lasem who imprisons her and goes out for a final assault against her family. Eventually karma catches Lasem and he is attacked by a monstrous raven, which foretells his death.

The dramatics of Legong storyline are enacted in elaborate and stylized pantomime with the two dancers accompanied by a third one called condong or attendant. The condong sets the scene, presents the dancers with their fans and later plays the part of the raven.

Barong animal mask dance is considered native Balinese dances, alongside sanghyang dance which predates Hindu influences. The Barong dance follows the battle of Barong and Rangda which represents the eternal battle between good and evil. Barong is the king of spirits, hosts of good and enemy of Rangda, the demon queen and mother of all spirit guards in the mythological traditions of Bali. It is widely known that Barong represents good, while Rangda represents evil and Calon Arang, the legendary witch that wreaked havoc in ancient Java during the reign of King Airlangga in the 10th century.

The dance opens with two playful monkeys teasing Barong in a peaceful environment, followed by the popular Keris Dance where Rangda appears and wreaks havoc. She casts black magic upon male dancers (representing Airlangga’s soldiers) and orders them to commit suicide. In a magical trance, these men stab themselves on their chest with their own kris, a traditional asymmetrical dagger from Indonesia. Meanwhile, Barong and a priest cast protective magic on these men, making them invulnerable to sharp objects.

This dance eventually ends with the final battle between Barong and Rangda, concluding with the victory of Barong. Rangda runs away, signaling that the evil is defeated and the celestial order is restored.

Kecak in Batubulan has been performed far longer than the ones in other locations of Bali, making it a classic you should definitely not miss. It is a form of Balinese hindu dance which was developed in the 1930s in Bali, Indonesia. The dance is based on the story of the Ramayana and is traditionally performed in temples and villages across Bali. Kecak also has roots in sanghyang, a trance-inducing exorcism dance.

Unlike any other dances which follow musical instrumentals to lead the dance, dancers make their own instrumentals with their mouths, continuously chanting “chak”, also called the Ramayana monkey chant, throughout the performance. A combination of culture and magic, Kecak dance encaptures you in a trance like no other!

So those are the three main dances you will find in Batubulan, there are certainly more dances you can watch here. With each place or theater having their own unique twists. With some of these knowledge in mind, we hope it intrigues you to witness these performances first hand! Experience these unique traditional dance performances, only in Batubulan, Bali.