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Bali is an Indonesian island located between Java to the west and Lombok to the east.
Javanese and Balinese dances are historically rooted in epic love stories, classical tales of knights, giants or ogres, and tales of gods and life altering events, with some stories dating back to the 11th century. Some Balinese masks are considered sacred to be treated with great respect. Many Indonesian or Bali masks are used in dance and drama performances.
In the Balinese language, the word for mask is "Topeng". The Topeng or dance mask is performed in ritual processions. Masks are usually made out of wood, then painted in with colors and designs.
Religious Balinese Hinduism is a mixture of beliefs that embraces theology, philosophy, and mythology, as well as ancestor worship, animism and magic, in which gods and demigods are worshiped together alongside Buddhist mythological and legendary figure, ancestral spirits, deities and sacred places.
During ritual dances, the players's hand and body movements are very graceful while they perform traditional dance-drama steps in time with rhythms and music of drums and fiddles.
Types of dances include the Ramayana, a love epic and the Barong dance which tells the story of the effect the gods have on ordinary people. The kecak or monkey dance is quite active with chanting and arm erratic waving. Balinese dancing is considered athletic and dramatic while the Javanese style is more stately and calm in nature.