Recently Rachel & Adam visited Bali and were able to visit various mask & dance ceremonies with the Barong body puppet , and a Wayang Kulit shadow puppet performance. The Dalang puppet master Made Gender is a native Ubudian who performs almost every night at the Ubud Palace since 1989, aswell as performing for religous ceremonies. Wayang is a required element of Balinese religous ceremonies. it used to be performed only within a sacred context, and the Dalang in his role as the instigator of activity, conflict and conclusion is considered to be an embodiement of the Hindu God , Shiva.The story of Rwa Bineda was told with comedy, romance and an epic battle – the manipulation was amazing, especially the magical arrow shooting by! and a tale of black magic : Calonarang symbolises evil forces and is opposed by Barong, the manifestation of good magic, and the most familiar icon of Balinese culture.
Penny Francis writes in her book ‘Puppetry- A Reader in Theatre Practice’
‘Puppetry can be directly traced to the atavistic, universal belief in the spirit life hidden within and embodied by natural phenomena, things and materials. This belief forms the core of the animist religion and is intrinsic to the understanding of the puppet’s origins. ‘
Here are some highlights from the Barong Dance –