Sang Penari is a love story that takes place in a poor Javanese village, Dukuh Paruk, in the mid 1960s. Rasus, a young military officer, is looking for the love of his life, Srintil. They are separated by the darkest period in Indonesian history. Srintil and Rasus have loved each other their whole life. But Srintil's gift is driving them apart, when the village elders see her magical dance as a sign of the indang, a spirit that can befall only a real ronggeng. And they believe that a dancer bestowed with the indang will lead them to order and prosperity. A belief strongly embraced by Srintil, but abhorred by Rasus, because this means Srintil will never only be his. Robbed of his love, he leaves the village in desperation to become a soldier. As the country sinks into political turmoil, Rasus has to choose between his loyalty to his country and his love for Srintil. Their love is tested as they find themselves on opposite sides of history.