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Fisherman’s Dance by I Ketut Merdana (Tari Nelayan)

Fisherman's Dance

Visa Bali Info – Fisherman’s Dance by I Ketut Merdana

Art and culture in Bali is deeply rooted in its people, don’t be surprised if you are in Bali and you feel the art on this island of the Gods.

In terms of art itself, Bali has so many varieties of art that are born from its culture. Like the art of dance that is well known to foreign countries, namely the art of Kecak dance.

However, so many dances have been created, not only the Kecak dance. As we will discuss, this is the Fisherman’s dance.

From the name alone, you must have thought that this dance tells how fishermen do activities in the sea. Well, for more details, let’s look at the description of this dance below. Check it out !

Fisherman’s Dance by Dance Maestro I Ketut Merdana

Nelayan Dance was born from the thought of a dance maestro I Ketut Merdana. This Fisherman’s Dance was created in 1960 in the village of Kedisan, Buleleng Regency and until now we can still enjoy his work.

This Fisherman’s dance is included in creative dance works and this dance is a repentant dance, depicting something clearly (realistically).

Such as the farmer’s dance depicting a farmer, the fisherman’s dance depicting a fisherman, the weaving dance depicting people making weaving, the dance depicting rabbits running and so on.

Types of Fisherman’s Dance

Fisherman's Dance

Dances born from cultural diversity have actually made this dance art classified based on its type.

Like dances that are sacred (Tari Wali) which are closely related to the religiosity of the Balinese people, there are also many secular dances (balih-balihan) that function purely for entertainment, such as this fisherman’s dance by I Ketut Merdana.

Number of Fisherman Dance Dancers

Fisherman's Dance
Ig by @st.tunasmuda

This dance is danced by a man and 2 women and can be performed as a group accompanied by gong kebyar.

Every movement of this dance is like a pantomime that imitates all the movements of fishermen, the movements of this dance include ;

  • The movement that tells the journey to leave for the sea
  • The movement of the hand (thumb) of one of the fishermen who was injured was then treated by 2 women
  • Collaborative movement to catch fish
  • The movement rushed back to the mainland

Dancer Clothing From Fisherman Dance

The movements performed by these dancers depict the lives of fishermen in the sea who live from catching fish by displaying many movements such as rowing, throwing nets, being pierced by fish spines and so on.

The dancers certainly have a characteristic dress in this dance performance. This clothing includes for male dancers in the fishermen’s dance, namely the cloth on the head, the badong on the neck, the breastplate, the kana bracelet, the ampok-ampok on the waist, the lower cloth with carvings from cowhide.

Fisherman's Dance
Ig by @swaradanta

For the female dancers themselves, the attire includes a crown, breastplate and lower cloth.

Fisherman's Dance
Ig by @ayucahyni

The Purpose and Meaning of the Fisherman’s Dance

The diversity of arts and culture in Bali is one of them in the field of dance, such as the Fisherman’s dance which is often staged with the aim of entertaining.

This fisherman’s dance performance is usually staged at wedding receptions, birthdays, and even big festivals with the aim of livening up the atmosphere.

This dance has the meaning of how the daily life of the Malay Coastal Bali community focuses on the ways the Malay community works together and tries to get results from the ocean as a source of life.


The series of descriptions about the Fisherman’s Dance above can hopefully be informative material for you, adding insight into the art of dance in Indonesia, especially in Bali.

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