Cultural Dances of Bali
Theater, music and dance are intricately linked with Balinese religion and culture and form an integral part of Balinese culture. Known as the "island of Gods", hardly a day goes by without a religious ceremony or festival taking place. Known for their dances throughout the world, the Balinese take great pride in performing these dances...the movements being as elaborate as the costumes. Traditional dances such as the Barong and Kecak are performed on a daily basis for tourists.
The Barong enters first, cleverly danced by two men who form the front and rear, while the man in the front controls the mask. Rangda enters soon after and for the next hour or so you are mesmerized with the magic and myth that prevail in the air. The story goes that Rangda, the mother of Erlangga, the King of Bali in the tenth century, was condemned by Erlangga's father because of practicing black magic. After she's widowed, she summoned all the evil spirits in the jungle,demons and all, to come after Erlangga. A battle occurs between Barong, who is assisting Erlangga's troops and Rangda.
The two characters engage in battle, at which point the Barong's keris-bearing followers rush in to attack Rangda. The hissing witch however, uses her magical powers to turn the keris knives in upon their owners, who subsequently fall into a trance and turn their knives upon themselves.The Barong however uses magic to protect his followers by casting a spell that turns their body resistant to the sharp keris. In conclusion, the benevolent power of Barong drive the evil forces of Rangda away.
All this is performed with a trimumphant display of graceful movement, vibrant color and passion. Never before have I seen mild-form of public exorcism appears as remarkably inspiring as the Barong Dance.