The Fascinating Barong Dance in Bali

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The Barong is a mythological being in Bali that takes the form of a four-legged wild animal. The Barong Dance has always been popular in Bali. It is danced by two men, one man dancing the head and forelegs and other playing the hind legs and tail. The wel-known barong in Bali are the Barong Keket, the Barong Kalekek and Barong Landung.

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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 Mount Agung, and offerrings must be presented.

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One of the most famous place to see Barong Dance Show is at Batu Bulan which exactly located at Jalan Raya Batu Bulan. The show starts at 09:15 WITA with 60 minutes duration of performance. The ticket entrance prices is around Rp55.000 – Rp.65.000 depend on how much persons inside the group.

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