Traditional Balinese Dance in Ubud

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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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