Sunday, May 17, 2015

Barong & Keris Dance : A Distinctive Balinese Tradition

Touring in Bali will not be complete without watching the Barong and Keris dance in Ubud.

This performance is a depiction of a Balinese myth about the battle between good and evil. 

Barong, a lion-like creature and the king of spirits represented good. On the other hand, his opponent was Rangda, the demon queen and mother of all spirit guarders.    

It was believed that this dance originated even before Hinduism came to Bali when animism was still being practiced by ancient folks.

It was also said that this performance had gone through changes over time. 

On to the story, Airlangga, the king of ancient Java fought with Rangda. Because Rangda's force was mightier than Airlangga's, Airlangga sought the help of Barong.  

During the battle, Rangda cast a spell on Airlangga's soldiers which made them wanted to kill themselves using their sharp weapon keris.

In response, Barong also cast a spell to the soldiers which made their bodies resistant to the sharp keris.

Barong in the end won the ensuing fight and Rangda escaped, thereby the celestial order was restored.     

The Barong dance performers on stage

The performance with Barong in the foreground.

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