Dance is the most beautiful form of expressing yourself. It brings out the best in you and sets you free. It is an art well-practiced and appreciated around the globe. Balinese dance is one such enticing dance form. Popular all over the world for its elegance and colourful nature, this dance form is very unique, dynamic and highly stylized. A dancer must be able to move every part of their body, from head to toe, and for that reason, Balinese dance is easy to pick up at a tender age.
Apart from its uniqueness, Balinese dance is also closely connected to religious rituals. Dances are often performed at ceremonies, typically as part of dramas, and most involve the Balinese version of the Hindu Ramayana epic. Traditional Balinese dance forms are passed on to boys and girls at a very young age, and training is often rigorous and disciplined. So, it is advisable to impart Balinese dancing coaching at a young age so that kids learn this art form with finesse and grow deeply connected with it.
There are places in Bali to get your kids enrolled for Balinese dance class. In an introduction session, normally the experienced teachers gently guide the kids to take their first Balinese dance steps. The integration of body movements, hand and facial gestures is what makes this dance so appealing to watch. The teachers also explain the meanings behind the individual postures and gestures that comprise the basics of the dance. It is a wonderful way to expand the kid’s knowledge of the Bali-Hindu culture while at the same time enjoying and having fun.
Some resorts in Bali host dance demonstration classes for kids. In Jimbaran, Ayana Resort and Spa is conducted a class in the open air viewing the ocean wide. The kids are expected to get the basics lesson of Pendet Dance. It is originally a dance of worship which was exhibited at many temples. This dance symbolises the welcoming of the gods fall into the natural world. The dance is a lot about the varied facial expressions and symbolized the purity of the soul. Fresh flowers are handed to the kids while teaching, to invoke the true devotion of the almighty. Classes are conducted for an hour every day. The timings and fees varies according to the batch size.
Still in the same location, Balinese dance workshop is also available at Ganesha Cultural Centre of Four Seasons Jimbaran every Monday and Wednesday from 3PM to 4PM. Your little ones will get traditional dance lesson almost as soon as they can walk. At first, they can observe the impressive skills of children from Jimbaran village, and if they fancy trying it, they can join in. This class is free of charge for staying guests, and a small fee will apply for public. At Ganesha Cultural Centre, your kids will get the opportunity to personally meet and learn from Bali’s talented artists, who are hand-picked and invited to share their knowledge and skills. This programme represents the evolution of Ganesha Gallery as an independent fine art gallery. This art space has been refurbished to create an inspiring place for people and artists to connect and interact.
Not far from Jimbaran, Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa conducts Balinese dance classes every Friday from 10AM to 11AM at Lagoon Pool Bale where the highly-experienced staff teaches the kids patiently all the intricacies of Balinese dance forms, giving them a close look of Bali’s cultural and artistic tradition. The Barong dance is loved by kids where they are dressed up as dragons, monsters and other mythical creatures.
In Canggu, Hotel Tugu specialises in teaching kids the basics of Balinese dance before going into specific styles. The class is held every Sunday from 3PM to 4PM and costs IDR 100,000 per session. Local kids from the Canggu neighbourhood can join the class for free. The skilled students will have the chance to perform what they learn in the class on Bale Agung Garuda stage.
Most of the workshops will not ask the kids to bring or wear anything in particular. However, it is recommended to wear lose and comfortable clothes as the postures involve a lot of stretching and turning. Costumes will be provided to get the real feel of Balinese dance but only after a few classes once they learn the basics. Sometimes the workshop starts with a little presentation of culture, heritage and tradition just to give an overview of the background of the dance forms.
The classes are pretty interactive, making them a fun and quick-learning process. Learning Balinese dance is a special takeaway, and the kids are bound to enjoy thoroughly. As someone rightly said, “There are shortcuts to happiness. Dancing is one of them.”