Bali – Ramayana / Barung and Keris show

I had seen the performance of the Ramayana epic before (in downtown Ubud). It was a different version and more impressive: two small girls danced and there was an extended fire walk over real burning charcoal. I was with Nicolai and Marina, a psychic Russian couple, at the time. We were staying with David Verdesi in a rented house. This one shown in the photos was performed in a open air theater on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean. We climbed to the promontory of a medium-size mountain past a temple, walked a distance, and joined a large audience at the end of the path. Against the setting sun, the view was nothing less than awesome. The chant of the all-male chorus of 70 members was hypnotic.

The barung and keris dance was actually a dull show. There was, as usual, the confrontation of good and evil, with actors wearing masks and costumes. The lion-looking beast was excellent, so were the female dancers. But most of the program dragged. At the end, the trance dance did not have much to recommend. It was honestly a part of the tour that should have been omitted, but I did not know beforehand what it was about. The prospect of seeing a real trance dance intrigued me, but the actual performance failed to stoke my interest. I did take photos of the actors backstage.

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