Travel Stories

A travel blog for a long-term expat, backpacker, traveler, ESL teacher, and photographer. 

Balinese Dancing in Ubud.


Ubud, the tourist capital of Bali, is well known for its abundance of dance performances. It is no secret that Bali is rich in culture and Balinese dancing is definitely one of the richest. After watching about five different types of dancing, one of the most distinct features is the movement of the eyes. In my pictures below, you'll notice the eyes, they definitely stand out. Our first performance started right as it got dark and was known as the Kecak dance, or a fire trance dance. Men of all ages sat in a circle around a flaming alter and chanted outside a Hindu temple. Every so often, dancers would come down the temple stairs and dance around the alter while the men continued their chanting. It was a beautiful atmosphere and entirely enjoyable. Pictures can hardly do it justice. Towards the end, a man in costume ran through flames on the ground barefoot. Definitely crazy.

After our performance, we had remembered that a restaurant/hotel near the Monkey Park, Laka Leke, also offered a free dance show with the purchase of dinner on Fridays. Thus, we worked our way over to the hotel, bought quite a delicious dinner (the best western food I've had in a very very very long time), and watched the show of four different types of dancing. This was totally the way to do it. The Kecak dance was on at 7 and this dance performance started at 8 so it was easy to get them all in. We were one of two parties so we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. The dances performed were: Legong, Baris, and a children's dance that I'm not quite sure the name of.

I'll split the photos into galleries of the certain type of dance.

First, we'll start with Kecak dancing where I even remember two take two videos of. Sorry for the glare - the alters were reflecting on my lens and creating a weird glarey thing.

The second type featured will be Legong dancing. Traditionally, this type of dance was only for royalty. It is a full story but apparently I only saw an excerpt. Here it is:

The third type of dancing I pictured was Baris dancing. This was danced by a young man and totally solo. Again, look at the eyes.

And last but not least, the cutest children's dance, enjoy!