Javanese and Balinese Traditional Dance

West Java Dance

Central Java Dance

East Java Dance

Bali Dance

Javanese dance is separated in two big part : the Sundanese; in western Java; and Jawa, in the central and east of Java include Jogjakarta. Javanese and Sundanese dance includes folk and courtly styles, but in Bali these merged into a single style shared by all social classes. In general, Indonesian dance is slow in tempo, with controlled, reserved motions. The dancers stay close to the ground (in contrast to the high leaps of Western ballet), and arm and hand movements are important. Sundanese dance tends to be more sensuous and expansive than Javanese and Balinese dance. The dance of Indonesia was strongly influenced by the diffusion of Indian culture in the 1st millennium ad. The country's dance dramas often portray episodes from Hindu epics, and some Indian influence can be observed in the use of the legs, neck, and head and in remnants of the mudras (codified hand gestures of Indian dance). In the 15th and 16th centuries the conversion of Java to Islam provided an overlay of plots, characters, and similar influences. The dances of Bali, lacking the Islamic elements, may reflect pre-Islamic forms that have disappeared from Java. The remarkable dance tradition of Bali, flourishing and evolving after 1000 years, is deeply linked to communal and spiritual life. There, ritual often consists of dance, and spirit possession is believed to occur in ceremonies such as the barong dance drama (which exorcises evil spirits from a village). Other important forms of Indonesian dance include the wayang orang (the large-scale, spectacularly staged dance adaptation of the wayang kulit, or puppet theater), which has distinct Javanese, Sundanese, and Balinese variants. Its dance style probably originated in ancient unmasked dances whose modern descendants include the deeply revered bedaja, a court dance for nine women who move in unison in graceful, abstract patterns. The wayang topeng, or masked dance, is usually a solo character interpretation drawn from Hindu legends. Village customs and popular theater include other dance forms.

See The Bali Dance and hear The sound of the traditinal music call Gamelan (Bali)