Painting, woodcarving and dancing reflect the soul of the Balinese. Traditional dances are performed especially on Hindus holiday and also to welcome visitors. The one you see below is Ã¢â‚¬ËœKecak DanceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ which was performed on Galungan, the biggest Hindus holiday, at Pura (temple) Luhur Ulu Watu, up on a cliff at the most southern part of the island. The Kecak is an unusual Balinese dance for a couple of reasons.First, there is no musical accompaniment. The gamelan is not there. Rhythm is provided by a chanting monkey chorus. The polyrhythmic sound of the chanting provides the name,Ke-chak.
The Kecak Dance tells the Indian story of Ramayana. Rama, a warrior and rightful hier to the throne of Ayodya, is exiled with his wife Sita to a faraway desert. There, an evil king spies Sita, falls in love with her, and sends a golden deer to lure Rama away. Sita is captured, and Rama rounds up his armies to defeat those of the evil king and rescue her. Rama is the man in green dancing in the center of the circle, the golden deer is in yellow in the back.
What makes the Kecak such a fascinating dance to watch are the fifty or so men in the checkered pants. They are both the choir and the props, providing the music for the story in a series of constant vocal chants that change with the mood of the actors. They dont sit still, either, they wave their arms to simulate fire, and reposition themselves around the stage to represent wind and fire, prison cells, and unseen hand of protection from the gods.
Attending a Kecak recital is a must for any visitor to Bali. It is a wondrous experience, and a window into the musical and artistic culture that make the Balinese a special people.