Barong & Kris Dance in Bali

Our friend Rahman, a local I befriended during my first trip to Bali suggested this. I have always wanted to watch Barongan, or Barong Dance. We were one of the early birds, so we had time to take pictures and choose the best seats, YAY!

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The simple performance area.

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Since we’re still waiting for the place to be filled up, we had time to read. They gave me a Bahasa Indonesia version of the synopsis. Of course I understand, it’s similar to my mother tongue – Malay, but I’m more comfortable with English ;) Thank God Love got the English version.

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If you intend to watch this, you’d probably need more than 3 minutes to internalise the whole thing (if you arrive early and have time to read), so I’m going to help you. A simplified synopsis will be right at the end, in case you don’t want spoilers.

Everything is live and not pre-recorded, which made me enjoy watching the musicians play traditional instruments. Having a thing for culture preservation, I strongly believe the younger generations should preserve and practice rituals and traditions. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see young men playing some of the instruments. I hope they teach their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on.

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There were audience interactions, and adequate number of puns and jokes. English were carefully planted in their scripts too, to keep the audience entertained. Overall, a very good performance. The elaborate and colourful costumes and make-up show careful planning, proper time management and of course effort. Though there were no million-dollar sets, special effects or fancy lighting, the performers made good use of the space, their emotions seep right through you, every inch of their rehearsed movements will transform you to another world. If you love culture, don’t miss this.

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IDR100,000 / SGD13 / US10

I truly enjoyed the show, though I have difficulty identifying which part of the show is going on. Maybe they should make it clear, like someone holding a placard “Act 1” or something haha. Also, I would (and I’m sure, others too) appreciate if there are fans around.

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Sari Wisata Budaya

Barong & Kris Dance

Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai No. 896 A- BR.

Kajeng Pemogan

Denpasar Selatan

Tel: (0361) 724050

Spoiler Alert – Synopsis

This play represents an eternal fight between good and the evil. Both mythological creatures, Barong represents good while Rangda represents evil.

A tiger and monkey were in the forest when three masked men appeared. The men were angry upon seeing the tiger as it ate one of their children. They tried to attack the tiger but failed when the monkey bit a man’s nose.

Act 1

Two female dancers (Rangda’s servants) looked for Dewi Kunti’s servants who are on their way to meet their Patih (Prime Minister).

Act 2

One of Rangda’s servants changes into a witch and possessed Dewi Kuntis servants. Angry and agitated, they met Dewi Kunti and Patih.

Act 3

Dewi Kunti promised Rangda that she would sacrifice her son Sadewa. Dewi Kunti was possessed and ordered Patih to bring her son Sadewa to the forest. Shortly after this, Patih was possessed; he brought Sadewa to the forest and tied him up on a tree.

Act 4

God Siwa appeared to grant Sadewa immortality. Rangda then entered the scene, trying to kill Sadewa. Rangda surrendered and redeemed herself before Sadewa killed her, sending her to Heaven.

Act 5

Kalika (one of Rangda’s servants) ordered Sadewa to redeem and send her to Heaven but he refused. This made Kalika angry and turned herself into a boar to fight Sadewa. Kalika, now a boar was defeated, hence she turned herself into a bird but was defeated again. In the end, she turned into Rangda, now invincible. Sadewa meditated and turned himself into a Barong to fight the very powerful Kalika/Rangda as the Barong and Rangda were known to be equally powerful. Sadewa/Barong’s followers had to help him in the fight but they failed. The invincible Rangda triumphed.

The End

Disclaimer: I tried my best. The English version of the article is poorly written. I had to also translate the Bahasa Indonesia version. Hope this helps!

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