Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Traditional Balinese Dance in Ubud


Dear Future Husband,

You never expected me to wear a boring white dress, did you?

I’m not traditional.  Not remotely.  But you knew that when you asked me to marry you.

So you shouldn’t be surprised that I have chosen a Balinese dance costume for my wedding gown. Specifically, the one worn by Sita.  (Probably without the headdress, but definitely including the fabric tucked between the feet.)

Of all the activities to enjoy in Ubud, Balinese dance will likely be at the top of your list. Every guidebook and every web site mentions Balinese dance in Ubud at some point.

But is it worth it, or is it just one of those activities that everyone says you should do because it’s there?

Well, I vote for worth it. Balinese dance is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, down to the blessing of the musicians before the show began.

The story is long and it took a few reads before I could follow it. (Like an opera or ballet, the plot is meant to be read before the performance.)  In a nutshell, it’s about the kidnapping of princess Sita and the struggle to bring her home.  It actually could work quite well as a Shakespearean play.

And then the dancing began.  There are several different Balinese dance styles; the one at the Palace is Legong dance.

The music chanted out a haunting, repetitive melody, while the dancers spun and whirled.

I lost my video of the show in the shipwreck, but here is a video from another show attendee:

I was impressed with the dancers’ talents — the dancer who played Sita was in tears, and she nearly brought me to tears as well.

If you’re in Ubud, try to see a dance performance at the Palace. It has a reputation as one of the better ones, and I was glad that I went there.

Nightly performances at 7:30 PM last roughly 90 minutes and cost 80,000 rupiah (just under $10).  Get there by 7:00 PM to get a good seat.

And enjoy!  It’s a great show.


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6 Responses to “Traditional Balinese Dance in Ubud”
  1. Beautiful, and I don’t blame you for choosing one of those gowns for your wedding. Your pictures of the performance look gorgeous. I will certainly remember this when in Ubud.

  2. Watching dance is a great way to become immersed in local culture! I loved their costumes – the colors are so vibrant. Looks like I great experience and one I will not pass by when in Bali.

  3. Thanks for the great tip. Good to know when I plan my trip!

  4. Angela says:

    Impressive, I love how Asians use bright colors in all their festivals and traditions

  5. Colette says:


    We are currently in Ubud and looking for a place to buy traditional Balinese headpieces and costumes- any recommendations?
    Thanks so much

  6. Tyna says:

    Colette did u find a headdress in ubud?

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