Arts and Culture
Gambuh Dance

The glory and artistry of the Gambuh is enhanced by a Gamelan pegambuhan orchestra, dominated by the wonderful sound of a flute. The dancers skilfully adapt their movements to the music, allowing spectators to glimpse the traditions of the Majapahit Kingdom of some 500 years ago. This dance is known as a tribute to the king’s relatives, as is the famous Legong Keraton Dance. Its movements reflect the dances from Hindu Java in the reign of the Majapahit Kingdom, characterized by particular eye movements (seledet), a feature typical of Balinese dance in the pre-Hindu era. Far from being of purely historical interest, however, the dramatic structure and composition of the dance are such that it remains an essential part of Balinese culture today. In the past, the sacred Gambuh dance was performed at ceremonies, usually in the kingdom’s central pavillion or the middle yard of the temple. As with many elements of Balinese devotional culture, the dance is designed to conform with Kaja Kelod - the direction of the sacred Mt. Agung in the centre of the island juxtaposed with the coast. Prior to the performance, respects are paid to the Gods in order to ensure a smooth and successful show.