Barong Dance is the most popular dance in Bali which contains an interesting mythology inside it. One of many forms of art that is still exist in Bali.
Bali is popularly not only known for its attractive natural attractions. It is indeed rich in distinctive culture as well, such traditional dance.
What is the history of this dance? The dance is usually characterized by a large four-legged animal (resemble a lion) masks and costumes worn by one to two people.
This iconic dance tells the story about the conflict between good and evil. The word “barong” comes from the word bahrwang which can be interpreted as a bear. This bear is believed to be a mystical power, a mythical animal that has a high magical power that is worshiped as a protector.
Some sources mention that the history of the dance is adapted from Chinese culture, the Barongsai, while some others consider that there is a very clear difference between Barongsai and Barong where according to them the Barong dance is often played with slice of humour so it can keep the audience from getting bored of watching it.
Throughout the history of Barong dance, good parties are always portrayed by the figure of Barong, a four-legged beast in which is controlled by two dancers. The evil side, Rangda is described as creepy woman-like figure that has two large fangs in her mouth.
In fact, there are several types of masks worn by the dancers.
The most often performed is Barong Ket, which it forms like a combination of lions, tigers and cows. The body has carved ornaments made of leather and attached to a mirror so it looks shiny. The feathers in the body are made from pandan leaf fiber, the feather of crow.
Next is Barong Bangkal which is sometimes called Barong Celeng. This Barong has a shape that resembles a bangkal or bangkung, a large old pig.
According to history, it is usually staged on sacred days, being carried around the village, when there was an epidemic disease attacked.
And there is also Barong Macan. Macan comes from Bahasa which means tiger. Usually performed by forming a parade around the village and equipped with various kinds of drama equipment such as gamelan and others.
Another type of Barong is Barong Landung.
This is the only Barong which is not resemble an animal, but a human.
The story behind it is a tale of Balinese King named Jaya Pangus, married a Chinese princess named Kang Cing Wei. The story centred on how the marriage between the King and the Princess was not approved by the Gods, therefore they could not have a child.
The King then went to meditate in the mountain to get enlighten. There he found Dewi Danu, the Goddess of lake. Fascinated by her beauty face, he then married her.
Knowing that King Jaya Pangus has a wife already, it became a conflict. The mother of Dewi Danu, Batari Batur perish the King and the Queen.
Sad by the news, the people of the Kingdom wished to Batari Batur to make a statue to remember the couples. Then she created Barong Landung, which is the representation of King Jaya Pangus and Queen Ching Wei.
Besides Barong, another part in the story is Rangda who is described as the queen of Leak (a devil of black magic). Rangda is often kidnapping and preying small children and leading an army of evil wizards to eradicate Barong.
If you’re interested in watching this traditional dance, the most popular Dance performance is in Batubulan, Gianyar.
How to get there? We suggest you to book a driver before you go.
Watching the show is surely a must-do activity if you visit Bali, so don’t miss it guys!