Balinese dance usually identifies sacred characters because most dances are performed in connection with religious rituals. However, there are also many secular types of dance that are done purely for entertainment and fun and there are others that are performed with the tourists in mind.
One of the most irreverent of Balinese dances is Joged Dance, which is also known as Joged Bumbung; referring to the instruments made of bamboo used to accompany it. In the Indonesian and Balinese languages, Joged means to shake the hips. A Joged Dancer wears relatively unelaborate attire, comprising a kebaya and sarung. Her head, either with or without gelungan, is decorated with fresh and gold-plated flowers and she will be holding one or more fans while dancing. The fans are used to touch spectators in order to invite them to join the dance.
Unlike many other forms of dance, Joged Dance doesn’t have any particular pattern of movement or special steps. It can start and finish at any time but 10 minutes is about the average time for each dancer. Great ability to improvise is a must for a Joged Dancer and although every dancer can do joged, the audience always expects to see an attractive and charming girl. She has to throw a lot of smiles to make her appearance attractive to the spectators, who are generally predominantly male! Shaking the hips is one of the important characteristics of Joged Dance. The dancer does this in a seductive way in order to attract people to dance with her. An onlooker invited to dance is called Pengibing and his dance is called Ngibing.
A oged Dancer usually comes to pick one of the bystanders after making a brief attractive dance movement. She selects one among many of usually rowdy watchers who raise their hands; this invited spectator won’t necessarily know how to dance. Before dancing, the girl gives him a sash to be tied round his hips as a symbol of tying up his desires. While he tries to dance, his appearance will almost certainly look odd and this is a great source of amusement for the rest of the crowd. If you find yourself at a performance of Joged Bumbung and you don’t fancy being dragged in to the centre, try to keep a good distance away because it is considered impolite to refuse the dancer’s invitation.
Pengibing are attracted to dance, not just because they like it, but also because they are attracted by the charms of the joged. It is not unusual for one or two of the more adventurous young men to try to move his hips so he can touch the joged’s hips, or even to steal a quick kiss. The more beautiful a Joged Dancer is, the greater the number of men volunteering! Joged has a long history. In the kingdom era, early 19th century in Bali, the image of Joged Dancers was not very good. A performance was often arranged by kings to entertain their guests and the dancers were often low status women who could do little to object when asked by the king to please guests, whether romantically, sexually or in any other way.
Joged has often been performed to entertain a group of tourists with the main aim of creating a cheerful and fun occasion where tourists, male and female, can experience stretching their hands for a Balinese dance! The happy and entertaining quality of joged much depends upon where it is performed and who are the audience.