Bali Dance & Shadow Puppet Guide
Barong, Legong, Kecak, Fire Dance
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Music and dance play a huge part in significant rituals and religious ceremonies. Known as " the
The Barong is triumphant display of graceful movement and vibrant colour. The dance is basically a contest between the opposing forces of Rangda - chaos and destruction, and Barong - order. (Basically good and evil.)
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
Suwung and Kesiman, in the suburbs of Denpasar.
Batubulan: Daily from 9:00 or 9:30 a.m.
Banjar Abasan, Singapadu: Daily from 9:30 a.m.
Puri Saren in Ubud: Fridays from 6:30 p.m.
The Legong is a very difficult dance requiring great dexterity and is generally performed by young girls. The dance is choreographed to the finest detail, to a set pattern with no improvisation allowed.
Peliatan Stage, Friday from 6:30 p.m.
Pura Dalem & Puri Peliatan, Saturday from 6:30 p.m.
Pura Peliatan in Ubud, Sunday from 7:30 p.m.
Puri Saren, Ubud, Monday from 7:30 p.m.
Banjar Tegal, Kuta, Saturday and Tuesday from 8:00 p.m.
The kecak is a ritual dance which was created in the early 1930's for the movie "
It is extremely impressive with its circular chorus of sometimes over 100 bare-chested male singers.
Banjar Buni, Kuta, Sunday from 8 p.m.
Banjar Tegal, Ubud, Sunday from 6:00 p.m.
his dance is an exorcism dance form against spirit possession, where barefooted girls in trance dance among glowing coals.
Bona Kangin, Gianyar, Friday. Monday and Wednesday from 6:30
Bonasari, Gianyar, Friday, Monday and Wednesday from 7:00 p.m.
Batubulan, daily from 6:30 p.m.
This highly entertaining dance form plays out the epic legends of the Ramayana. There are occasional performances in Banjar Buni, Kuta.
Wayang Kulit, is an Indonesian shadow puppet play, which uses intricately made and beautifully painted, gilded leather puppets. Although only the puppets' shadows are seen by the audience, the performances are fascinating. The stories told by shadows are often from the spirit world and are full of symbolism and mysticism.
A single, highly skilled puppeteer controls hundreds of puppets; plays out the roles of different characters with a different voice for each character; and leads the traditional musicians.
Wayang kulit plays can play for several hours or be several days long.
Popular performances are at Banjar Buni, Kuta, every Monday and Thursday 8:00 p.m.
Oka Kartini, Tebesaya, Peliatan, Ubud, on Saturdays from 8:00 p.m.