When there is a celebration in a hamlet meeting hall or house compound, joged bungbung is one of few sought after social dances that is used to entertain audience and bring more festivity to the celebration.
The name joged bungbung derives from the word joged that means “dance” – joged bungbung dancer is also called joged – and the word bungbung refers to a length of hollow bamboo.
Unlike the bronze-keyed, xylophone – like instrument of musical group that accompany most of the performance, the keys of this ensemble are turned length of the bamboo, struck with rubber-covered mallet held in both hands. The music is very soft and mellow.
One may hear it played by a soloist as background music at restaurant. But the joged bungbung group consists of half a dozen or more of these instrument, some very large bass xylophones, several of medium size, and tiny ones to ornament the melody. There are also drums and cymbal like ceng-cengs. Since it has no religious connection, joged is now popular lobby entertainment at many of the larger hotels.
The joged bungbung is usually staged at hamlet meeting hall or on a wide open space. It is usually held late in the evening until around midnight. The joged bungbung is always performed in a paid troupe. The five or six young female dancers (joged) dance at one time, each for perhaps 20 minutes. Costumes vary, but they almost feature a mass of fresh flowers tied in the hair. The joged is a sort of flirtation dance. After a brief solo, a dancer pulls a man out of the audience, put a sash around his waist, and makes him dance with her. The victim always makes a pretense of protest. However, almost Balinese men know the basic dance step and styles, and often the result is remarkably artistic duet.
Traditionally the male dancer makes passes at the joged, trying to poke her or grab her good-naturedly as she deftly parries the thrust. She may even pretend to beat the man with a small leafy brench that someone will toss into the arena. After the man tires, he thanks the joged, take off the sash, and the girl goes after another partner in the audience. Tourists are favorite targets if available. After three or four pairings, the joged retires and a second joged dancer takes her place.