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Barong Dance

Barong and Rangda or kris dance is a battle between good and evil. Barong can take various form but in this dance he takes the from of the Barong Keket, the most holy of the barong. The Barong Keket is a strange creature, half shaggy dog, half lion and is played by two men in much the same way as a circus clown-horse. His opponent is the witch Rangda.

The Barong personifies good and protects the village from the witch Rangda, but he's also a mischievous and fun loving creature. He flounces into the temple courtyard, saps his jaws at the Gamelan, dance around and enjoys the acclaim of his supporters a group of men with krises. Then Rangda makes her Pendulous breasts wobbling, human entrails draped around her neck, fangs protruding from her mounth and saber-like fingernails clawing the air.

Now the Barong is no longer the clown, but the protector. The two duel with their magical powers and the Barong's supporters draw their krises and rush in to attack the with. Rangda puts them in a trance and the men try two stab themselves, but the Barong also has great magical powers and casts a spell which stops the krises from harming the men. This is the most dramatic part of the dance as the gamelan rings crazily the men rush back and forth, waving their krises around, all but foaming at the mouth, sometimes even rolling on the ground in a desperate attempt to stab themselves.

balinese barong dance

It's the most popular dance for tourists. A straightforward battle between good, the barong, and bad, the rangda. The barong is a strange creature, half shaggy dog, half lion, propelled by two men like a circus clown-horse. The widow-witch rangda is bad though and certainly not the sort of thing you'd like to meet on a midnight stroll through the rice paddies. The Barong dance is truly a triumphant display of bright colors and graceful movements. Greatly appreciated by the tourists, special performances are staged for their benefit, generally in the morning, and last one hour. The villages of Batubulan as well as Tegaltamu and Singapadu, small towns located 30 minutes from the capital, are known for putting on the best performances. There is, however, more to the Barong dance than the folkloristic dimension, It is, in fact, an integral part of the island's culture and has an evident sacred connotation. It isn't rare, in fact, to see the Balinese dancing the Barong during their religious ceremonies, regardless of the presence of tourists. Inspired by an episode taken from Mahabharata, an epic poem written in Sanskrit. the dance evolves around the character of the Barong, the king of the jungle. A mythical animal, not clearly identified (perhaps a lion),

barong dance at batubulan village
barong and kris dance at batubulan

The end of the Barong dance is like an entirely separate performance. Also known as the Kris dance, it is named after the famous Malese dagger. The idea is based on the philosophical concept rwa bhineda. good and bad, evil and goodness which have always been present and have always existed together albeit in a constant and inevitably unre solved conflict. Nothing will change in the future. While man is left free to try to develop his positive attitudes and let them win over the negative ones, he must nonetheless resign himself to the fact that the presence of both good and evil is a law of nature and as such must be accepted.

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