Traditional Balinese dances are the oldest form of performing arts in Bali. The purpose could be as leisure, or to be performed in some ritual ceremonies because if the strong magical powers the dance has, or performed in social events.
Tari Topeng or Mask Dances in Bali are sacred. This dance is usually performed by a single dancer or a group of male dancers in large ceremonies occasion. The purpose of this dance is to tell the audience about the historical background of why a ceremony must be held or to deliver Hinduism wisdom through simple conversation among dancers. This dance also believed could protect ceremony from evil interferences. The famous sacred Mask Dance is Topeng Pajegan.

Topeng dance is a dance with played by using mask or topeng, the word topeng is basically came from the word tup which means tutup or closed so it became topeng which it means closed or mask. The histories of topeng is appear in 818 caka or 896 century which found written source in prasati Bebetin in time where Ugrasena became a king. There are two type of topeng dance first is Topeng Tari Wali and the second one is Topeng Pajengan but basically the topeng dance is function relate to religious ceremonial in the temple or outside the temple like Manusa Yadnya, and Pitra Yadnya.

The dancer of topeng dance are dressed with Balinese traditional clot like wearing sarong prada, badong, gelang kana saput prada, kancut putih and destar or udeng. Before playing topeng character all the dancer is pray in the back stage which it call banten Ngungkab Langse they pray to god Ida Sang Hyang Widi Wasa so that the shows is successes.

In Bali, find the Mask is so easy, like in Sukawati art market in Gianyar regency near Ubud. There are many kind of Balinese mask but the mask is not sacred. As well many mask carver around UBUD village, you can order the mask what you want and if you want to learning how to dance Topeng or mask dance there are many art organization called Sanggar Tari and you can learn there.

Yoss is editor of website Bali Hotel Booking. He also maintain other websites such as Bali Holiday, Bali Transport Service and Wisata Ke Bali

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