The “Kecak” Dance

The “Kecak” dance is a spectacular theatrical ballet performed by more than 50 dancers in a temple compound. By the light of an oil lamp, which lends a flavour of mystery and intrigue to the narration, the ancient Hindu epic of the “Ramayana” is retold, Balinese style, with the aid of several richly costumed characters who appear at intervals throughout the performance.

The backdrop to the episode is provided by a ring of dancers who chant the words “ Kecak, cak-cak-cak” in a hypnotic tempo, raising their vibrating arms in the air to create the effect of a living circular stage, within which the story of the “Ramayana” is enacted.

In the 1930’s Wayan Limbak worked with German painter Walter Spies to create the Kecak from movements and themes in the traditional sanghyang exorcism ritual and the portions of the Ramayana. This collaboration between artists worked to create a dance that was both authentic to Balinese traditions but also palatable to Western tourist’s narrow tastes at the time. Wayan Limbak popularised the dance by traveling throughout the world with Balinese performance groups. These travels have helped to make the Kecak famous throughout the world.

  Grand Hyatt Bali Website