Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 10.COM 10.B.18

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Indonesia has nominated Three genres of traditional dance in Bali (No. 00617) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

There are three genres of traditional Balinese dance – sacred, semi-sacred and that meant for enjoyment by communities at large. Traditional Balinese dances are performed by male and female dancers dressed in traditional costumes consisting of brightly coloured cloth painted with gold floral and faunal motifs, with gold-leafed and jewelled accessories. The dances are inspired by nature and symbolize particular traditions, customs and religious values. They combine a variety of different movements including a basic posture with the knees outward and the stomach held in, locomotive movements in different tempos and directions, transitional movements with dynamic changes, and facial expressions with eye movements revealing happiness, sadness, anger, fear and love – all accompanied by the music of the gamelan. In addition to being technically-skilled dancers, performers must have charisma, humility and discipline and a special spiritual energy that enlivens the performance. In Balinese communities, dances are mainly transmitted informally to children from an early age, within groups. Training begins with basic dance movements and positions and progresses to more intricate dances. The sessions continue until the students have memorized the sequence of movements. Traditional Balinese dances provide participants with a solid cultural identity grounded in the understanding that they are safeguarding the cultural heritage of their ancestors.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria:

R.1:   Transmitted to younger generations in a range of non-formal and formal settings, three genres of traditional dance in Bali are primarily distinguished on the basis of their affiliation to religious and secular contexts, and secondarily as the expression of groups and communities of practitioners, stakeholders and audiences for whom they provide a sense of cultural identity and continuity;

R.2:   Inscription of the element could enhance awareness of the importance of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage at local, national and international levels while the great variety of features and social contexts that the element incorporates – together with the intra- and intercultural exchanges that characterize it – could stimulate respect for cultural diversity and human creativity, encourage dialogue, and promote the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage in general;

R.3:   Complementing past and current measures to safeguard the element, those proposed represent a coherent and concrete set of activities elaborated in cooperation with communities and groups concerned, aiming at further inventorying, strengthening transmission, and continuing promotion that respects the element’s social functions and cultural meanings;

R.4:   A large number and a wide variety of bearers, practitioners and stakeholders of the element participated in the nomination process, and provided their free, prior and informed consent;

R.5:   Since 2010, nine dances pertaining to the three genres concerned have been included in the inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Bali Province, which is a part of the inventory elaborated at the national level drawn up in conformity with Articles 11 and 12 of the Convention.

  1. Inscribes Three genres of traditional dance in Bali on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Encourages the State Party to continue addressing possible threats emanating from the promotion of Balinese dance festivities for tourists and from globalization in general, which may endanger customary practices governing access to the element, especially as regards religious dances.