The Sacred Calonarang Dance

Calonarang dance is one of the sacred dance in Bali island. It is quite popular among the Citizen as well as the foreigners. It is connected to the legend of Leak in Bali.

Calonarang Dance refers to the struggle between Rangda (Calonarang) and the great king Airlangga. Calonarang  was a widow of Girah who gave birth to a daughter in the jungle. Her daughter grew up to be the famed beauty Ratna Menggali.

Calonarang  wanted her daughter to marry a prince from Airlangga’s palace. However, no prince came along. Infuriated by this, Calonarang  learned the art of black magic and practiced it against the kingdom, causing many people to die.

When the king Airlangga heard of the epidemic in Girah, he consulted his high priest, Mpu Bharadah. The priest then sent his son to propose Ratna Menggali. Calonarang  was pleased, the curse ended, and the couple wed. Calonarang  inscribed her black magic secret on a lontar (palmleaf book). One day, her son-in-law found it and gave it to his father. When Calonarang  found out that Mpu Bharadah had learned her secrets, she was furious and declared war upon him.

The priest had no choice but to fight and, in a deadly struggle, destroyed the widow by casting a spell. Before she died, Calonarang asked forgiveness. Mpu Bharadah forgave her and showed her the way to heaven. Before Calonarang Dance is performed by midnight, the audiences are gathered, listening to the Calonarang  music, played by a full legong orchestra amplified with large bamboo flutes.

Foreigners or visitors could enjoy this Bali dance in a show or could be included in a Bali tour package.