A trip to the beautiful island of Bali wouldn't be complete without taking in some of the most enthralling cultural performances. The traditional Kecak Dance, a Balinese creative masterpiece in the form of a dance and musical drama, is another fascinating performance in addition to the Barong and Janger Dances that you surely don't want to miss. Watching these dances is one of the best things to do in Bali, and you can also include them in your Bali vacation package.
The drama is performed outdoors at dusk, typically on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean, and it fully depends on the lighting. The narrative begins at dusk and goes on into the dark, with just the light of flickering bamboo torches.
Bali is home to numerous Kecak dance performances, but the most famous one takes place every evening as the sun sets over Uluwatu Temple, one of the six Sad Kahyangan Temples and one of the island's primary spiritual centers.
The Tari Kecak dance, also known as "the monkey chant dance," was first performed as part of a male chorus-led trance rite. The Sanghyang ritual, in which dancers enter a trance and perform an exorcism or a ritual to ward off evil spirits, is thought to be the source of Kecak Dancing. The dance initially appeared in 1930, when German painter Walter Spies and Balinese dancer Wayan Limbak collaborated to produce a theatrical performance version of the Sanghyang that included the epic Ramayana narrative. The dance has been well-known ever since they took the invention on a global tour.
Watching Kecak dance is one of the unique activities on your Bali tour. It is distinctive in that it only features a group of male dancers who are bare-chested and who make the clicking sounds "chak-achak-achak" while swaying and waving their hands. There is no other musical background or accompaniment. The dance was given the name Kecak from the chanting sound of "Cak-cak-cak." Kecak at Uluwatu Temple is one of the top attractions in Bali.
Dancers who portray Rama, Shinta (Sita), Lakshmana, Rahwana (Ravana), Hanoman (Hanuman), Sugriwa (Sugriva), and other figures in the epic Ramayana Saga are featured in the performance. The plot begins when Prince Rama, his wife Shinta, and his brother Lakshmana stray into the woods. Rahwana holds Shinta hostage and keeps her safely in his palace. Next, Rama asks for assistance and sends Lakshmana to locate his friend Sugriwa, the ruler of the Monkey Kingdom. Hanoman, a white monkey under Sugriwa's authority, is sent to Rahwana's Palace to check on Shinta.
Rahwan’s soldiers capture Hanoman and place him inside a circle of fire to be burned alive in a dramatic scene. The white monkey warrior breaks out, but instead of being burned to a crisp, he escapes unhurt and burns Rahwana's palace. The conflict between the two sides then started.
Rahwana and his forces initially succeed in capturing Rama. But Sugriwa and Hanoman eventually help Rama and the other monkey armies destroy the evil monarch for good.
Coconut husks are scattered over the stage and lit on fire to end the show. Before the trance dance, the priest blesses the dancer, who is portraying Hanuman. Then he dances through the flames, kicking the blazing husks and sprinkling embers over the stage. He is in a trance and doesn't feel any discomfort. Don’t miss this beautiful act and amazing must-do activity in Bali on your vacation.
On Bali Island, Kecak Dance is often performed in a variety of locations. However, the Pura Uluwatu is the best place to visit in Bali to view this magnificent performance because the dance is done there every day while the beautiful sunset serves as the backdrop. The best time to watch the Kecak dance is in the evening, ideally by 6 p.m. Other locations where the dance is performed include Tanah Lot, GWK Culture Park, Pura Dalem Ubud, Padang Tegal Stage, Batubulan, and Umadewi Stage.
You don’t want to miss the best activity in Bali. Want to include this on your Bali trip? Here you go! With Pickyourtrail’s customizable Bali vacation package, you can personalize your entire itinerary, from flights and accommodations to other top activities in Bali. Start planning your Bali tour packages and have a hassle-free vacation.
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