Barong and Rangda
Of all the forms of Balinese dance which interested early Western visitors and residents, the Barong, the Rangda, and the genres involving trance possession were the most fascinating. With the resumption of tourism in 1948, the Bali Hotel in Denpasar requested that a Barong performance be created especially to suit the needs of the tourist trade.
At that time a group of traditional artists established the form as it is seen by the tourist today. Carefully edited and tailored to fit exactly into a one hour performance, the show is given with unconsecrated masks and with only a minimal offering to protect the dancers. No one actually goes into a trance in the performance, and sacred objects are not employed.
The company is made up of members of the banjar, who divide the profits monthly, after setting aside 40 per cent for general fund. Although the performance based on Mahabhrata story called 'Sudamala' or 'Kunti Sraya', the masks and general format are taken over from the Calonarang performance.
In this plot, which has been standardized so that a synopsis can be distributed to the audience, two Rangda masks are employed, worn by the goddess Durga and by her servant-priestess Kalika.
When the Barong appears at the end of the play, his followers practice simulated self-stabbing and other trance-like behavior according to a precise timetable.
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