Joged: The Balinese flirtation dance


Bali has many traditional dances and one of the most fun is the joged bumbung. Tourists will often see and participate in a joged dance. The joged is a flirtation dance and a solo female dancer will select men from the audience with a tap on the shoulder with her fan. Back in 1937 during Miguel Covarrubias's time in Bali, before the onrush of mass tourism, the joged was popular. Here is his description.

-A very popular dance that seems related to the legong is the joged, performed by a girl in a variation of the legong costume and in the traditional legong steps. The dance is considered erotic by the Balinese because the girl entices the men from the audience by 'making eyes' at them during the course of the dance. The man invited must dance with her in postures that represent a love game of approach and refusal (nibing), in which the man tries to come near enough to the girl's face to catch her perfume and feel the warmth of her skin, the Balinese form of a kiss. As the audience becomes worked up, other men 'cut in' and dance with her. I have seen performances of joged that had an intoxicating effect on the crowd, especially in the more decadent form called gandrung, when it is a boy in girl's clothes that performs. Fights among the men of the audience at gandrung dances are not unheard of, a procedure of which is extremely un-Balinese. The joged could easily be a modernized, decadent version of the ancient mating dance still to be found in the village of Tenganan, stronghold of native tradition. There, once a year, a dance called abuang is performed in which the unmarried girls of the village appear dressed in their best, wearing gold flower head-dresses and meet bachelor boys who posture with the girl of their preference in a short dance in which the gestures make one think of a chaste and restrained joged. Curiously enough, the joged is forbidden in Tenganan.-

Look out for a joged advertised at your hotel, it's a good laugh.

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