Ubud as an arts center is also a wonderful place to sample the spectrum of Balinese dance.  Visitors who've seen a few pictures, watched a short video clip.  Thought, oh yes, interesting, maybe.  Nothing will prepare you for Balinese dance in the flesh.  Three unbelievable beautiful girls in vibrant colored costumes, gold foil headdresses dripping with frangipani blossoms, and then they started moving.  The hand gestures and wide open, darting eye movements are something you have to see to really comprehend.  Balinese dance is magnetic, hypnotic.

Ubud Palace has performances many nights.  Other venues nearby offer other dances.  Current schedule at the tourist office. The best troupes (mentioned in Lonely Planet) are Semara Madya at Puri Agung Peliatan (free transport from UTI but not back!) where they perform the amazing Kecak Dance and Sadha Budaya, famous for the Barong and Legong dance. The performances at the Water Palace are quite amateurish and can be seen freely from the terrace of the Prahda Café where the food is excellent and good value.

Ubud Palace Dance