Batubulan, Bali, Indonesia
Barong Dance Bali Reviews
Jul 19, 2007
I went to Batubulan to watch the Barong Dance. I paid 50,000rp for the ticket.
Theater and dance is an integral part of Balinese culture. Balinese dances are famous all over the world and the Balinese themselves take them very seriously. Birthdays, weddings, and temples festivals are all occasions for dramatic performances and dance is inextricably linked with the Balinese religion. The commercial performances for tourists that are today offered on a daily basis in several places of Bali do, of course, not have the same religious significance and atmosphere of a dance that is performed at a real temple festival.
Barong is probably the most well known dance. It is also another story telling dance, narrating the fight between good and evil. This dance is the classic example of Balinese way of acting out mythology, resulting in myth and history being blended into one reality.
The story goes that Rangda, the mother of Erlangga, the King of Bali in the tenth century, was condemned by Erlangga's father because she practiced black magic. After she became a widow, she summoned all the evil spirits in the jungle, the leaks and the demons, to come after Erlangga. A fight occurred, but she and her black magic troops were too strong that Erlangga had to ask for the help of Barong. Barong came with Erlangga's soldiers, and fight ensued. Rangda casted a spell that made Erlangga soldiers all wanted to kill themselves, pointing their poisoned keris into their own stomachs and chests. Barong casted a spell that turned their body resistant to the sharp keris. At the end, Barong won, and Rangda ran away.
Somebody can die or get seriously injured in a Barong dance. It is said that if Rangda's spell is too strong, a weak soldier may not be able to resist it, even with the help of Barong. He may end up hurting himself with his own keris.
The masks of Barong and Rangda are considered sacred items, and before they are brought out, a priest must be present to offer blessings by sprinkling them with holy water taken from Mount Agung, and offerrings must be presented.
Part of the My Balinese Experience travel blog
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