Bali has many traditional dances, one of which is the Wayang Wong. Wayang Wong is a dramatic dance drama and is taken form the Indian epic, the Ramayana.
The word ‘wayang’ means shadow puppet, and the Ramayana used to be performed as a shadow puppet theatre. The word ‘wong’ means people, and with a simplification of the dialogue and story, the Wayang Wong was born. In most cases some introductory dances from the gambuh were added and the permances deals with just one part of the Ramayana. People usually view Wayang Wong as entertainment, but in Tejakula in North East Bali, an elaborate performance is undertaken to celebrate the odalan, which occurs at the village temple every 210 days. Tejakula also has a wonderful set of Wayang wong masks. As is common in Balinese tradition, the masks are considered sacred and filled with spiritual power. Wayang Wong dances have a translator called a penasar, who talks allowed, explaining what is happening. This, like many other dances, is part pantomime and can be very funny. At the end of the performance there is a battle between ogres and a band of monkeys. The evil king Rahwana is never killed and lived to be evil for another time.