Bali’s Cultural Series: Rangda – Balinese Sacred Dance

Rangda is the other main mythological figure of the Balinese. Its symbolic significance is also complex and hard to interpret. It is often regarded as the incarnation of “evil”, but in fact the mask of this ferocious witch is revered in the village temples as a patron and a protector against evil.

The name Rangda in old Javanese and Balinese language means widow. Rangda’s origin was linked to the legend of Calon Arang, the legendary witch who wrecked havoc in ancient Java during the reign of Airlangga in late 10th century.

The actor of the Rangda character may often fall into a trance himself while performing. The magical powers and destructiveness of Rangda place many requirements on the performer, who is often a respected individual in his community.

Rangda’s movements deliberately contradict all the ideals of Balinese classical dance. She often stands simply with her legs apart, trembling spasmodically, extending her hands, and shaking her long fingernails in readiness to attack her enemies.

Where to Watch?
You can watch Rangda Dance at village festivities such as Calonarang.

Or watch ‘Rangda Dance’ drama show regularly at Jambe Budaya
Jalan Pasekan, Batubulan, Gianyar
Daily: 9:30-10:30am
Cost: 100,000 IDR

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