Tari Legong: The Graceful Balinese Dance

Tari Legong is a traditional Balinese dance that originated from the Gianyar regency of Bali. The dance is performed by young girls, often between the ages of 7 and 12, who have undergone rigorous training to master the intricate movements and expressions that are characteristic of the dance. The dance is accompanied by the gamelan, a traditional Balinese musical ensemble, and is usually performed during temple ceremonies and other important events.

The History of Tari Legong

The origins of Tari Legong are shrouded in mystery, but it is believed to have been developed during the 19th century in the royal courts of Bali. According to legend, the dance was created by a king who was so enamored with the beauty of two young girls that he commissioned a dance to be performed in their honor. The dance was so well-received that it quickly became a staple of Balinese culture and has been performed ever since.

Over the years, the dance has undergone many changes and variations, but the basic movements and themes have remained the same. Today, Tari Legong is considered one of the most important and iconic dances in Balinese culture, and it is still performed by young girls who are trained in the art of dance from a very young age.

The Movements of Tari Legong

The movements of Tari Legong are characterized by their grace and elegance. The dancers move slowly and deliberately, using their entire bodies to convey emotions and tell stories. The movements are often accompanied by hand gestures, facial expressions, and subtle movements of the eyes, all of which add to the overall beauty and complexity of the dance.

One of the signature moves of Tari Legong is the “sudamala” movement, in which the dancer arches her back and tilts her head back, while extending one arm in front of her and the other arm behind her. This movement is meant to symbolize the beauty and grace of the dancer, and it is often the highlight of the dance.

The Costumes of Tari Legong

The costumes worn by the dancers in Tari Legong are just as important as the dance itself. The costumes are made from brightly colored fabrics, often with intricate patterns and designs. The dancers wear a headdress made from flowers, which adds to the overall beauty and grace of the dance.

The costumes are also designed to emphasize the movements of the dancers. The skirts worn by the dancers are often very full, which allows them to perform the intricate footwork and leg movements that are characteristic of the dance.

The Meaning of Tari Legong

Like many traditional dances, Tari Legong has a deeper meaning beyond its surface beauty. The dance is often used to tell stories or convey important messages, and the movements and gestures of the dancers are meant to convey these messages to the audience.

One of the most common themes in Tari Legong is the story of a young girl who is forced to choose between love and duty. The dance tells the story of the girl’s struggle to make the right decision, and her eventual triumph over adversity.

The Importance of Tari Legong

Tari Legong is an important part of Balinese culture, and it is still performed regularly at temple ceremonies, weddings, and other important events. The dance is seen as a symbol of Balinese identity and is often used to promote tourism and the arts in Bali.

Despite its importance, Tari Legong is facing challenges in the modern era. Many young girls are no longer interested in learning the dance, and there is a concern that the tradition may eventually die out. To combat this, efforts are being made to promote the dance and encourage more young girls to learn the art of Tari Legong.


Tari Legong is a beautiful and graceful dance that is an important part of Balinese culture. The dance is characterized by its intricate movements, expressive gestures, and colorful costumes. Although it is facing challenges in the modern era, Tari Legong remains an important symbol of Balinese identity and is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Bali.

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