A trip to Bali, Indonesia is incomplete without being enamoured by the traditional Kecak Dance.
My quest for local traditions and culture made me look beyond the gorgeous temples, beaches, adventure sports and food in Bali.
Out of the several art and craft and dance forms, I was awestruck by the magnificent Kecak Dance.
History of Kecak
Kecak is a Balinese Hindu dance form from the Paradise Island. This is performed primarily by men dressed in black and white checkered bottom wear enacting stories from The Ramayana. Also known as the Fire Dance, it is a regular affair at the village temples. It showcases vivid characters and incidents from the Ramayana amidst repeated chanting of the word, “Kecak”. It is performed by a huge group of men with occasional characters enacted by a female cast.
Trance or Dance?
Initially, Kecak was a trance form of dance which was restricted only within the boundaries of a few villages in Bali, Indonesia. This resulted in Kecak being a local art form. Courtesy Walter Spies, a German curator, Kecak has travelled globally. It has been performed at various stages internationally. The dance form has gained popularity with time and is regularly exhibited at various other cultural forums. I was awestruck by the ecstatic performance of the troupe. They shouldered the responsibility of displaying the rich culture of the land.
A high energy performance!!
As the leader sets the tone, the group moved rhythmically. They swayed together chanting “Ke Chak – Ke Chak – Ke Chak – Ke Chak” repeatedly. It was a mindboggling experience to watch the artists perform as the sun, set at the backdrop. The arena was slowly draped in mystic darkness. The hundred-plus men sat in a big circle to render their Ke-Chak chants sans any instrument or music. They swayed, jumped, leapt, and played with fire while narrating the legend of Rama. The ambience was set just right for the dancers to pick momentum. Amidst the darkness, a fire was lit right at the centre as a result of which the act got even more engrossing.
Where is it staged
An enigmatic experience of an hour is staged at Uluwatu Temple, Tanah Lot Temple and various other cultural spots. Keep your Bali currency handy to procure the tickets at the venue. Watch the gorgeous sunset against the backdrop of Uluwatu or Tanah Lot temple. Post which you can head towards the amphitheatre. Check with your Bali tour guide/Bali travel partner for the inclusion of Kecak dance in the Bali Package Tour.
Can it be watched with family?
This is a complete family cultural show. Be ready to be enamoured by a serene trance. So ensure that you enjoy the dance form with your family when travelling to Bali, Indonesia.
Average time taken for the show
People in Bali are extremely calm and composed. One needs to be patient while watching the show as the seating arrangement takes a bit of time. The performance begins only after the amphitheatre is filled to full capacity. The duration of the show is approximately 1hour.
This is a highly recommended culture show when travelling to Bali, Indonesia.
STD Score – 4.5/5
(Sanchita Travel Diary Score)