Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kecak and Fire Dance in Uluwatu, Bali

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tired of too much temple trotting during our last trip to Nepal, we vowed not to visit any temple in Indonesia—well, except for Pura Luhur Uluwatu, one of Bali’s holiest temples. It is perched high on a cliff at Bukit Peninsula and offers spectacular views of the ocean. 

It was at Uluwatu temple where we chanced upon the Kecak and Fire Dance, a Balinese cultural show. I read about the Kecak, but I did not know how popular it was until I saw the tourists arriving in droves. 

According to the libretto that came with our tickets: 

“Kecak is the most unique Balinese dance because, unlike all other Balinese performances, it is not accompanied by any musical instruments. Instead, a chorus of about seventy men imitates the sounds of musical instruments, tell the story, and provide sound effects. The name Kecak comes from the chattering cak-cak sounds of the chorus.” 

“Kecak is an adaptation of an ancient ritual ceremony called Sanghyang that was held to purify a village during an epidemic. In this ceremony two young girls would go into trance and communicate with the spirits in order to find the cause and cure of the problem. Sanghyang was always accompanied by a chorus of men chanting the same was in Kecak. Kecak also incorporates some of the episodes of the traditional Wayang Wong ceremony which deals with parts of the ancient Hindu epic, Ramayana.”

While the sky was slowly bathed in hues of orange and red, the performers told the story of Rama and Sita with so much passion that I can't help but be impressed.


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