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Barong Dance

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Barong Dance is a story about the struggle between good and evil. The good, by Barong Keket, a mythological beast with an immense coat of fur and gilded leather vestments and evil by the witch Rangda. Typically Barong enters first, cleverly danced by two men who form the front and rear, while the man in the front controls the mask. The mask itself is sacred and undergoes a blessing by the priest before the performance. Rangda enters soon after. 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 from the knives although occassionally, the dancers do get hurt which to the Balinese is a sign of displeasure by the Gods and to be taken seriously.

At the end, the Barong triumphs and Rangda retreats to recoup her strength for the next encounter. All that is left to do is for the Pemangku, that is the priest, who sprinkles them with holy water to help the keris dancers out of their trance. The dance is lively and entertaining and not to be missed.

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