Kecak dance is said to have its origins in trance rituals of Bali. This was combined with music and dance that is an integral part of Balinese life and a dance drama performed by a group of men, based on the epic Ramayana was born. Originally a men only dance, it is performed by about 50 to 150 men with bare upper bodies wearing checked sarongs, sitting in concentric circles swaying in a trance like rhythmic manner who throw up their arms, stand and lie prone in unison, chanting ‘chak a chak a chak’ to the accompaniment of the gamelan suara as they depict various scenes from the Ramayana. The voice of the narrator rise high above the chanting explaining the unfolding drama. Many dance troops now incorporate female dancers for the lead roles and have the central figures of the drama decked out in gorgeous costumes and body paint. The lead actor dances in the middle of the ring of dancers acting out various incidents of the epic while the dancer’s movements make interesting patterns even coiling and uncoiling like a giant snake. The chant sets the dance apart as well as giving it its name. Starwood hotels and resorts in Indonesia are found in several major cities and holiday destinations throughout the country making in easy to travel to Indonesia.
The Kecak dance was specially developed for western audiences with the assistance of Wayan Limbak a popular Indonesian traditional dance exponent whose advice was sought to popularize the dance and to preserve the essential cultural elements that make it special. The dance always starts in the reddish glow of a tropical sunset and extends into the night lit only by torches that enhance its dramatic quality, giving it a primeval air. Pura Luhul Uluwatu perched high up on a crag by the ocean is where visitors can catch this dramatic dance performance every day at 6 pm, in one of the most dramatic settings.
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.