One of the most traditional and impressive traditional dance in Balinese culture is called the Tari Kecak dance (fire dance). It was created in 1930 and is now considered to be one of Bali’s top-three signature dances, the other two are Barong and Legong.The uniqueness of the Kecak dance lies in the fact that it doesn’t use any musical background besides the chanting of the male dancers, intoning a ‘’Keh-Chack’’ choir during the beautiful performance. This form of art is accompanied by a rich storyline taken from the Ramayana Hindu narrative and you can find it on most of the Balinese art and culture locations.
The story starts when prince Rama goes into the woods with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana. In those woods, Sita gets kidnapped by Ravana. Struck by sadness Rama goes out to seek for help and asks Lakshmana to find his friend, Sugriva, king of the monkey kingdom. Hanuman, Sugriva’s commander is then sent to Ravana’s palace to find Sita, where Rama has already begun the battle. During the first battle, Ravana wins, but soon Sugriva and Hanuman come to Rama’s aid together with the monkey troops. Sugriva finally wins the battle and Sita is rescued.
The chorus of men continues chanting ‘chack’ during the entire show, as to represent the sound of the monkey troops.
Maestro of the Kecak Dance
To experience the most beautiful, spectacular and dramatic Kecak dance on Bali, you should watch the performance by the group, Kecak Rina. This group is led by the maestro of this Balinese dance, I Ketut Rina.
Featuring mostly young performers, who are taught not just to learn about the composition of the dance, but also get a feeling of the ‘sense’ of the movements, which makes the dance so magical. I Ketut Rina tries to combine dance moves along with the vocalizing, whereas in regular Kecak dance most of the focus is put onto the vocalizing part.
Twice a month you will be able to witness a performance of the Kecak dance by Maestro Ketut Rina’s group in the Arma Museum in Ubud. If you are interested in the Balinese culture and eager to watch the Kecak dance performed in a truly captivating and enchanting way, then make your way to Bali’s cultural capital of Ubud!
This video offers you a brief look into the history of the maestro of the Kecak dance and it will try to give further insight into the true beauty of the dance.