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The remarkable dance tradition of Bali, flourishing and evolving after 1000 years, is deeply linked to communal and spiritual life. There, ritual often consists of dance, and spirit possession is believed to occur in ceremonies such as the barong dance drama in which the lion —like Barong, representing good, wages war against the evil Rangda.

The Barong is a powerful, protective, spirit, whose origin dates far back in time to ancient animism practiced before the advent of Hinduism in Bali.

The origin of the Barongs is obscure, but the generally accepted theory is that they are derived from animal spirits, chosen by societies who seek their protection. The people of these societies may believe that their ancestors were certain animals, or may believe that an animal was aided by their agreed to protect succeeding generations.