4 Indonesian Dance That Are Famous in the International Arena

Indonesia has given it a very diverse culture with dance being an integral part of it. Indonesians refer to dance as a celebration of body and freedom and they recognize it. Dance is a powerful mode of expression that unites drama and music full of emotions. Indonesian dances initially began among the  locals of their respective regions. 


 Popular dance forms are  not only famous domestically but also in other countries. There are many kinds of unique dance  forms that are performed.   The significance  of Indonesian  dance is not the same as  one another.  Some dances are dedicated to celebrations while some are for obligatory rituals. For some lists, here are some popular dances in Indonesia.


Plate Dance, Minangkabau

Known as the plate dance,  this form of Indonesian dance is about the rigor and elegance in the  dance steps along with the plate.  This dance  comes from the minangkabau   natives who describe their culture. It symbolizes a fruitful rice harvest and through the appearance of a perfect Plate they express gratitude to the Gods.

 This  dance  has twenty different dance moves by wearing acrobatics as well.  Accompanied by a symphony of  talempong and saluang music, about 3-5 dancers perform at a fast tempo, commemorating the  spirit of happiness and cohesiveness.

Merak Dance, West Java

Originating in the land of  Pasundan, Merak is a beautiful form of Indonesian dance.  This is an act of greeting at the beginning of the wedding ceremony.  This dance  embodies the attraction of the female peacock by its males.

For  this dance, the women wore intricately designed costumes  of  peacocks.  This form of dance  symbolizes the movements of a magnificent bird.  It was full  of elegance and subtlety. The women danced  easily to the melodious tone  and fascinated the audience with their calmness.

Kecak Dance, Bali

Known     internationally  as the “Ramayana monkey song  “, Kecak Dance is a form of Balinese Hindu  Indonesian dance and  musical theater performed mainly by men in temples and villages throughout Bali.

Developed in  the 1930s in Bali, Indonesia,  this dance is considered  one of  the  most spectacular traditional performances in Indonesia as it  is generally performed by  a circle of as many as 150 dancers dressed in clothes  plaid around  their waists, chanting ‘chak’ in  the way of percussion while moving their hands and arms.

The uniqueness of this Indonesian dance is that it does not use an artificial stage and does not involve  any musical instruments.  It should be done at sunset, in the  open air, usually on  a  cliff overlooking the sea, since the show depends entirely on  the natural light of the day  it. As the sun sets,  the story continues with an orange sky  that gets darker  from time to time.

 The dance  depicts a battle from the Ramayana, in which    monkey-like warriors known as  Vanaras, led by Hanuman, assist Prince Rama in fighting the evil King Ravana.

Reog Dance, Ponorogo, East Java

Representing a dark, mystical and supernatural  world, Reog is known  both domestically and abroad.  This Indonesian dance is performed only on the eve of the full moon to give a dazzling effect.  This dance   wears boisterous and dangerous costumes  and is known to be unique to  many viewers.   This dance form  has a very interesting story behind it.

It was originally told by Ki Ageng Mirah in a violent fight  between King Ponorogo and  a lion-like creature named Singa Barong.  It includes the participation of  twenty  to  thirty players with figures like lions and waroks at the forefront.  Their performances  are accompanied by  gamelan  instruments such as taps, kenongs and kempul.

 With the diversity of Indonesian dances we have become aware that Indonesia is very rich  in its culture. The graceful rhythmic movements  of traditional dances represent the harmony and beauty of  Indonesia.

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