My partner & I watched the Barong Dance at the Sahadewa Cultural Studio in Ubud. The studio was inaugurated on 1 Apr 1972 & has approximately 50 years of experience in presenting a variety of traditional Balinese dance performances.
Barong & Keris Dance is performed daily from 9:30 am while the Kecak & Fire Dance starts at 6:30 pm on a daily basis too. The Barong Dance ticket is priced at IDR100,000. Upon purchase, the customer will be given a leaflet containing a synopsis on each dance act totalling 5. Unfortunately, the translation isn’t very good & accompanied with many typo errors. Without the information at hand, I seriously doubt that customers will be able to follow & understand the performance. To get the best seats, be there 15 minutes prior to the show.
The show starts off with Gamelan music on the left side of the stage. Gamelan is an integral part of the Balinese culture, mostly played on formal occasions & in many traditional ceremonies. It requires 40 people to play the music & the musical instruments usually consist of gongs, drums, xylophones & other percussion instruments.
The Barong Dance is performed in an indoor open stage with a natural background. In a gist, the show is about good triumphing over evil.
Bali’s mythical creature “The Barong” is a mixed combination form of tiger, lion, dragon & cow infused in 1 animal body. Its body is supposedly made of fur from white dried leaves. Underneath the Barong are 2 dancers working it out.
The story is about Kunti who was forced to give Sahadewa, her child to Queen Rangda. Kunti resisted & was bewitched by Rangda. Kunti then forced the guards to take Sahadewa into a forest, in front of Rangda’s palace. Unbeknownst to Rangda, Lord Siva helped Sahadewa by granting him immortality. Rangda then surrenders & asked Sahadewa to redeem her which he agreed. Then, Kalika, one of Rangda’s helpers asked Sahadewa to redeem her but Sahadewa refused. As a result, Kalika changed into a boar & proceeded to fight Sahadewa. Lastly, she changed into Rangda & Sahadewa changed into “The Barong” & once again defeated the Rangda. Also, during the play, there are many chest-stabbing scenes & cheeky Balinese humour from the monkey character which might be unsuitable for children.
After the show, there will be time to take photos with the performers on stage. Do not miss that opportunity.