If you’re looking for local villagers tackling evil spirits in vibrant costumes, you’re looking to see the dancers of Bali.
The are many different dance performances here in Bali and each of them involves drama and excitement. Some involve fire and the light of a dramatic sunset too.
We’ve got the 14 best places for you to enjoy as the dancers take the stage and the performers share stories of Bali’s culture and heritage.
The 14 Best Places For Traditional Balinese Dances
Uluwatu Temple: Amphitheatre
This temple is known for its sunset views of the Indian Ocean and its’ roaming pack of monkeys (which are uniquely gifted in a fairly unpleasant manner).
It’s also famous for the best kecak dances on the island and there are two dance troupes that perform the dance here.
It’s an acapella performance with male dancers and singers and you can find dancing here almost every night of the year.
Where Is It? 539P+J4, Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia
Nusa Dua Theatre: Devdan Show
If you like your dances modern and packed with world-class choreography and incredible effects, you’re going to love the Devdan show.
It tells the story of a young boy and girl who find a mysterious treasure chest which, when opened, tells them the story of the Indonesian archipelago.
It’s an incredible performance and you’ll be sorry to see the dancers leave the stage when it ends.
Where Is It? Komplek, Jl. ITDC Nusa Dua, Benoa, Kec. Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80363, Indonesia
Bali Agung Show: Bali Theatre (Bali Safari & Marine Park)
This is a fabulous show that incorporates mask dances and shadow puppets to create something entirely unique.
As you might expect from it being held in the Bali Safari and Marine Park, the main story is about animals.
The lighting and sound show are really impressive here and make everything come alive.
Where Is It? Jl. Prof. Dr. Ida Bagus Mantra No.Km. 19, Serongga, Kec. Gianyar, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80551, Indonesia
Agung Rai (ARMA) Museum & Resort, Ubud
This is a fantastic little resort that has dinner options to go with the dancing and it has a nightly performance of a different dance each time.
This is one of the few places you can see the topeng jimat or wayan wong dances.
The troupe is capable of incredible synchronized movements to really showcase the culture of Balinese dance.
Where Is It? Jl. Made Lebah, MAS, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Kampoeng Bali Restaurant @ RIMBA Jimbaran Bali by AYANA
This lovely open restaurant hosts a fantastic, if somewhat pricey, open-air buffet with live cooking stations and in the midst of the food, there is dance.
They are all about fire dancers at this venue and their version of the kecak dance is performed to a backdrop of tasty babi guling and other local delicacies.
In the rainy season, the hotel moves the dancing inside into another venue onsite.
Where Is It? RIMBA by AYANA Bali, Jl. Karang Mas Sejahtera, Jimbaran, Kec. Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80364, Indonesia
Bebek Tepi Sawah, Ubud
This is one of the few places that offers the chance to see the jogeg bumbung dance.
It’s a lot of fun and you may be asked to join the dancers on stage during the performance.
They serve some lovely food at this venue too.
Where Is It? Jl. Raya Goa Gajah, Peliatan, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Lotus Cafe, Ubud
This wonderful cafe sits outside the Taman Saraswati Temple in Ubud and showcases a range of dance.
You will need to purchase a ticket to see the performers and if you want the best seats, you must also commit to a minimum spend at the cafe.
That’s not hard as they make fabulous Italian and Indonesian fusion food.
Where Is It? Gg. Beji, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park
The park is famous for being home to the largest statue in Indonesia and that’s the Garuda Bird (you can see it when landing at Denpasar Airport if you look out the window).
It also has a first-class amphitheatre and you can enjoy many different dances here, they also have female dancers which is quite unusual for Indonesian dance troupes.
Where Is It? Uluwatu St, Ungasan, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali 80364, Indonesia
Jambe Budaya Barong
This is one of our favourite places to catch a performance of the barong and that’s because they have made the dance into something of a theatre play.
Nearly every dancer is a local resident and nobody takes things too seriously and the dance here can often be absolutely side-splitting with their hilarious antics.
It’s a very modern setup though and the sound and lighting rig here are very good.
Where Is It? Gg. Batu Mutiara, Batubulan, Kec. Sukawati, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80582, Indonesia
Putra Barong & Kris Dance
This performance is often included on the big tours of Ubud because the stage area is large and they can accommodate a large audience.
They tend to turn the Putra Barong & Kris into a dance of 5 acts with each of the acts telling a different part of the overall story of the Calonarang epic tale.
Unusually for dance performances on the island, all the performances here are during the day.
Where Is It? Jalan Raya Celuk, Batubulan, Sukawati, Gianyar, Bali 80582, Indonesia
Held in the Balinese artist village of Batubulan this theatre has a pair of indoor stages that allow people to enjoy the show all year long.
They’ve been holding dance performances here since 1972 and that means they are one of the most experienced troupes in Bali.
In addition to dance performances, they often have bamboo gamelan orchestra performances.
Where Is It? Jl. Smki No.25, Batubulan, Kec. Sukawati, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80582, Indonesia
Sari Wisata Budaya
The gamelan orchestra at this location is one of the best that we’ve ever heard and even if the dancing wasn’t brilliant (and it is) their lively and energetic rendering of the music would carry the day.
The shows here are only in the mornings and last for around 1 hour and tend to focus on the Barong and Kris dances and their legendary tales of good and evil.
Where Is It? Jl. Griya Anyar No.25B, Pemogan, Denpasar Selatan, Kota Denpasar, Bali 80221, Indonesia
Leke Leke Garden Restaurant, Ubud
This is a very pleasant restaurant set in the rice paddies of Ubud and the outdoor pavilions have traditional thatched-roofs.
They offer a tasty buffet of local delicacies to accompany nightly dance performances.
Take your children on Saturdays and they can learn the local “frog dance” from Balinese kids, it’s a huge amount of fun.
Where Is It? Jl. Nyuh Bojog No.32, MAS, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Surya Mandala Cultural Park @ Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot Temple is one of the most beautiful places on the island and when the sun sets, it’s bathed in spectacular light.
However, if you want, you can head towards the Batu Bolong Temple and opt for a sunset performance of the Kecak dance, instead, of watching the temple at sea. It’s very good.
Where Is It? Tanah Lot, Beraban, Kediri, Tabanan, Bali 82121, Indonesia
What Is The Most Popular Dance In Bali?
It’s fair to say that the Kecak Dance is probably the most popular of Balinese dances with tourists and then the Barong dance performance is the second most popular.
They are both dance dramas and tale stories of the battles between good and evil.
What Is Bali’s Best-Known Dance Drama?
The Kecak Fire Dance. It tells the story of a major battle from the Hindu folklore, Ramayana.
The God Hanuman and his companion the, somewhat simian, Vanaras assist Prince Rama to overcome the multi-headed and thoroughly evil King Ravana.
Where Can I See Balinese Dance?
Traditional Kecak Dance performances can seen at Uluwatu Temple or Surya Mandala Cultural Park and there are plenty of other dance show performances across the island for you to see this dance and other dances such as the keris dance or the sanghyang dance.
What Is The Bali Dance Called?
There is no official dance of Bali and the Kecak dance, Janger Dance and Barong Legong are all famous dances in Balinese culture.
What Is The Traditional Fire Dance In Bali?
The Kecak dance is the Balinese fire dance that most people are familiar with.
What Is The Kecak Dance About?
The Kecak Dance is about the battle between good and evil in the Ramayana.
Who Invented Kecak?
Strangely, while the dance has its roots in a traditional sanghyang practice which is a trance-inducing dance of exorcism carried out by male dancers and with a male chorus line, it was a German who invented the modern dance that we are most familiar with.
Walter Spies came to Bali in the 1930s and was a renowned musician and a respected painter.
It was he who gave the dance its storyline and he worked with Balinese dancers to create something that they could showcase to visiting tourists.
He worked with a local dance called Wayan Limbak to help popularize the dance drama and it has been one of Bali’s best-known cultural performances ever since.
What Time Is The Kecak Fire Dance In Bali?
The dance performance at Uluwatu Temple begins around 6 p.m. or a bit earlier depending on when sunset will be.
You should get there around an hour before sunset as the performance makes use of the light of the setting sun as its backdrop for the first half before using flame and fire in the second.
Is Uluwatu Kecak Dance Worth It?
Yes, the Kecak performances are really interesting and a great way of getting more understanding of traditional Balinese customs and who doesn’t love a story of the eternal battle between good and evil featuring a white monkey king?
Is The Kecak Dance On Every Day?
The Bali Kecak dance is typically performed on every day except for Nyepi which is the Hindu day of silence and a mandatory public holiday in Bali.
What Is The Purpose Of The Barong Dance?
It is a traditional Balinese performance where the dancers tell the story of the battle between good and evil.
What Is The Story Of The Barong? What Is The Significance Of The Barong?
The Barong is a battle between Barong and Rangda and it’s quite a dramatic tale of war and strife.
The daggers used in the performances are quite real and in 2021, a dancer died when he stabbed himself with his own kris.
It’s worth noting that the Kris Dance or Keris Dance are small sections of the greater Barong performance.
Where Can I See Barong Dance In Bali?
There are many venues where you can see this dance in Bali, perhaps, the most popular is the Agung Rai (ARMA) Museum & Resort in Ubdu.
How Long Is The Barong Dance?
The full performance of this dance show is around an hour long and you can usually expect the cast to appear for photos in their elaborate costumes once the dancing is done.
How To Book A Trip To Balinese Dances
We always recommend that you book your trips or tours in Bali or your Bali holiday through the awesome folks at the Bali Res Centre.
That’s a locally owned and operated travel service that specializes in Balinese holidays.
Final Thoughts On Balinese Dance Performances
Dance is performed in Bali to help convey spiritual meaning and to ensure that important morality tales are passed from generation to generation.
If you’re thinking of watching a dance show on the island, we’d encourage you to go. There are very few other places in Southeast Asia with such a rich cultural heritage of dance.