A must-see event for those who are visiting Bali for the first time is the Barong and Kris Dance, the traditional Balinese and Javanese dance, one of the best-known and most beloved of the island. A page with an explanation of the various acts is given to spectators at the start of the show in various languages to facilitate the understanding of this complex drama with its synchronised and hypnotic dancing, representing life itself, with it colourful costumes and harmonious femminine movements, depicting the eternal battle between good and evil. There is Barong, the “good” character, symbol of virtual, resembling a lion, its costume of thick white fur, adorned with golden jewellery and pieces of mirror and there is the “Queen of Demons”, Rangda (widow in Javanese), head of an army of evil witches who wants to control the world. Male dancers fight with kris knives and, upon the appearance of Barong, they stab themselves and enter into a sort of trance, then being reincarnated and sprinkling holy water throughout the space. At this point, Rangda is defeated and the natural order is re-established. Costumed musicians sit on the side of the stage, accompanying this whirlwind of movements of masks and colours with the sound of the “gamelan”. Barong performances can be found all around Bali but the most popular take place in the village of Batu Bulan in the district of Gianyar, or in Kesiman, Denpasar.
Stephan Kotas is a Czechoslovakian photographer who chose Bali as a home where he could do what he loves - help the past live again in vintage portraits using the old-fashioned photographic developing technique of "tintype".