Devdan: a glimpse of Indonesian culture in Bali

Written by on November 16, 2012 in Asia, Blog, Indonesia, Reviews, Shows - 6 Comments

The lights dim and then burn the eyes, a man and woman appear on opposite ends of the stage. Staring longingly at each other. What transpires next is a mix of sensuality, passion and dancing that leaves the audience entranced.


Photo courtesy of Devdan

The couple merges together, holding onto thick ribbons hung from the top of the stage. They intertwine, hold, lift into the air together, part and reunite, telling a story of forbidden love. The background: Borneo. But, on a stage far away … in Nusa Dua on the island of Bali.

After the dance, the lights dim once again. This time, a group of female dancers splash in the man-made river at the lip of the stage. There’s fire. There’s rain. It’s an all-out production and visually stunning.


Photo courtesy of Devdan

Tonight, we’ve taken a break from the all-inlcusive paradise at Bali’s Grand Mirage and headed into the tourist enclave on the island to see “Devdan — the treasure of the Archipelago.”

It’s a far cry from all-you-can-eat-and-drink. In this moment, we’re soaking in the culture of Indonesia. And it is beautiful.


Photo courtesy Devdan

This stage performance, which has only been around for a little more than a year, is one way to learn more about the rich cultures that make up Indonesia. Part-Cirque and all dance, the 90-minute show takes audience members through traditional dances and more of Bali, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Papua.

The show begins when two children separate themselves from a tour group and find a treasure chest which transports them to different cultures of Indonesia. With exotic costumes, traditional dances, whimsical performances that include rain, fire and even a boat ride, the children’s eyes are opened to more than they ever expected.

“Devdan” exposes audience members to quite the spectacle, merging history, love and contemporary themes into an entertaining show.

The bottom line: I really enjoyed this performance. Each cultural performance spans about 20 minutes or so. My favorite was Borneo, which plays out a gorgeous love story that is sexy and took me back to Cirque and Las Vegas. The dancers are ridiculously talented and the production value — other than the tracked dialogue of the children — is high quality, complete with breathtaking special effects. However, the one part that left me scratching my head was the hip hop dance that was awkwardly stuck into the show. Yes, the dancing was great, but it just didn’t seem to fit the rest of the show, which is designed to highlight some of the many cultures of Indonesia. If you are in a hotel in Bali, go check out “Devdan” and discover more about the Indonesian Culture.

Editor’s Note: I was a guest of Devdan, however all opinions are my own. If you have questions regarding this, please read my disclosure policy


About the Author

Diana Edelman is a travel writer and expat currently residing in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In 2010 she quit her job in PR to go on a solo backpacking adventure and tackle her 30-Life-Crisis. After seven months abroad, journeying throughout Europe and Africa, she returned to America and relocated to Las Vegas. Following a year-long stint back in PR, she once again quit her job to follow her dreams; this time her journey took her to the elephants and Elephant Nature Park where she is involved with raising awareness about responsible elephant tourism. Recently, Diana was named a finalist in the Destinology Travel Bloggy Awards for travel writing. She has been a regular contributor to Viator and recently served as the Las Vegas contributor for and Her work has appeared in print and online, including The Huffington Post, Matador Network, Travel + Escape, Vegas Seven, World Nomads and more.

6 Comments on "Devdan: a glimpse of Indonesian culture in Bali"

  1. Hengky Hartadi November 17, 2012 at 12:21 am · Reply

    Dear Diana, thank you for seeing and enjoying devdan. As for the hip hop scene, we want to portray that despite of all the traditional cultures, Indonesia also has and open to new and modern culture. As we can see in indonesia’s young generation now, such as hip hop and modern dance are becoming part of Indonesia’s culture. I hope this will explain why we put hip hop into our show.
    Hope to see you soon back to our diverse and beautiful Indonesia.

    • Diana November 18, 2012 at 12:02 pm · Reply

      Thank you for clarifying. The dancing was fantastic!! It just seemed a little of out of place.

  2. Doree November 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm · Reply

    This is one of those posts that makes me inspired (and jealous!). I love Cirque shows and haven’t been to one in so long. Looks like this one combines entertainment and education…! Nice pictures, by the way. I know you didn’t take them but I’m glad you posted them!

    • Diana November 22, 2012 at 11:40 am · Reply

      It is a great show!! Hope you can make it there to see it for yourself!

  3. Charu December 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm · Reply

    This so reminds me of the “House of the DAncing WAter” I saw in Macau, which I loved. Love the photos and narration. Would be honored to put Indonesia on my bucket list soon…

    • Diana December 29, 2012 at 1:37 am · Reply

      You definitely should try to head there. Bali is spectacular!

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