Topeng Werda Lumaku: The Grandsire’s Dance

Watching a Topeng Dance (mask dance performance) we might think that the dance is far less complicated than other dances of Bali. But, actually to perform a mask dance, a dancer should go through a long and tough learning process. Not only to master a numbers of dance skills, but also to immerse themselves into

Otonan: Birthday Celebrations The Balinese Way

The majority of the world celebrates a typical birthday in accordance with the Roman Calendar where a year consists 12 months and a month consists of 30 or 31 days, the Balinese Hindu have their own distinctive reference of time, which in turn changes when they celebrate a birthday. First of all, a Balinese Hindu

The Nandir Dance is All About Love

The Nandir Dance originates from Taro Village, just north of Ubud. I hadn’t heard of it until someone mentioned that it was performed as a reconstructed ancient dance at the Bali Arts Festival 2016. It wasn’t until I was working in Taro, documenting an event, when I stumbled upon a group of dancers wearing bright costumes

Sanghyang Deling: The Possession of Puppets

The audience were sitting silently when the congregation, who sat on the stage of Kalangan Angsoka amphitheatre started singing a hymn, verses of a sacred song known as Gending Sanghyang. Gending Pangembak filled the atmosphere as the ritual began. The song is believed to have the power to summons deities and noble spirits, key to

The Sacred Gandrung Trance Dance

Bali is an island with numerous traditional dances, these are categorised into the sacred, classic and contemporary. Classic and contemporary style dances can be found throughout the island, performed on the commercial stage they are truly beautiful spectacles to enjoy. However, sacred dances are rarely for the general public and are reserved for religious ceremonies,

Magoak-goakan: Chasing the Tail

In this modern world, traditional games seem to be forgotten. But this is not the case in the Buleleng Regency of north Bali, once the gateway of the island. Magoak-goakan is a traditional game that originated in the regency’s Panji Village. The game has deep connections to the historical moment when the Kingdom of Buleleng

Arja: Beauty in Complexity

There may be many destinations with nature and sights more exquisite than Bali has to offer, but this little island of the ‘Lesser Sundas’ has things that cannot be found elsewhere, one of them being its distinctive and rich culture. In Bali, dances, music and other performances and artworks are part of the culture, tradition

Oleg Tambulilingan: The Buzz of Bees

Every thing, tiny or big, on Earth or even in outer space, can be a great inspiration for human beings to create something beautiful, meaningful and useful. Mrs. Arini Alit, a Balinese dance maestro, once told me that every pose and routine of a Balinese dance is inspired by nature. Agem, the stationary pose, should

The Panyembrama: Flowers, Smiles and Gentle Gestures

Despite there being thousands of beautiful destinations in the world, Bali remains unique, thanks to its culture. The growth of the tourism industry in Bali goes hand in hand with the preservation and even elaboration of culture and art on the island. The word ‘art’, funnily enough, doesn’t actually exist in the local dialect. However

The Pendet: A Holy Welcome

In Bali, dance has been the opening to holy ceremonies for as long as we know. The Pendet was considered a sacred dance that was only performed at the temple during a holy ceremony. Following the development of tourism in Bali in 1967, I Wayan Rindi created a new choreography of the Pendet for public

The Dance of the Shepherd Boys

In 1983, a living legend of Balinese dance created a theatrical performance titled Stri Asadhu. A section of this fine performance highlights the daily activities of shepherds, but the plot thickens. The story begins with the shepherds busily working, when a lady comes asking for milk. A shepherd agrees to give the milk to the

Dancing with the Bulls

In Jembrana Regency, with a history of migrating Madurese fishermen to the area over the centuries, an assimilation of tradition occurred. These fishermen introduced their unique Madurese boat designs to the area, which can be seen anchored at the bay of Perancak Village. The Madurese introduced their famous bull races to Bali too. In Bali,

The Bird King

The strong connection of traditions between Java and Bali began thousands of years ago, tied with the movement of the people of the Majapahit Kingdom migrating from Java to Bali. Certain beliefs, customs and even bedtime stories on the island originated from ancient Javanese cultures, which existed long before Islamic teachings arrived. Folktales passed on

Now Bali