The Traditional Performing Arts of Bali

Bali pic

With a background in real estate investment of more than 25 years, Mark Allen Hanrahan guides Markmel Co., LLC, in Urbandale, Iowa, as managing partner. A travel enthusiast who has visited Asia and Europe, Mark Hanrahan particularly enjoyed spending time in Bali, Indonesia.

A country with a unique Hindu tradition, Bali is known for dances that have their origins in traditional Javanese and Indian culture dating from 700 to 1,200 years ago. Created for temple ceremonies and local celebrations, the dances often have a symbolic narrative arc related to the ancient gods of Balinese history. Arm, head, and eye movements are highly synchronized, and the dancers perform with an almost trance-like concentration, displaying no emotions.

One of Bali’s most popular dramatic arts is the wayang kulit, which features fanciful shadow puppets that are used to portray traditional stories, often with a sense of humor. Performances in the villages and at temple services are often accompanied by musicians, which adds a sense of dramatic urgency. Bali is also well known for its boisterous gamelan music, played by an orchestra of instruments that range from bronze pots to drums and the xylophone-like gangsa.