An evening of cultural appreciation should leave a memorable experience on your Bali travel diary. And doing so is like a picnic, for there are countless nightly traditional Balinese dance performances such as Kecak held on many corners of the island for you to come and watch.
In Bali, a traditional dance is more than just an art form. It’s an expression of gratitude, a way to thank the gods for all their blessings and kindness.
Probably the most famous of all traditional Balinese dances, Kecak was composed around the 1930’s and is performed by a group of around 40 people swathed in black-and-white checkered cloth. These men will enter the performing area chanting “cak” in an organised rhythm and harmony and raise their hands to the sky while stomping their feet. They will then form a circle while imitating the sounds of the Gamelan with their voices.
Kecak tells the story of the epic poem Ramayana; it’s about Rama, the king of Ayodhya, whom because of internal conflict in the kingdom, was sent into exile. Sita, his loyal wife, and his brother, Laksamana, insisted on following him into the forest. Then the plot of the story begins to thicken, with Rama and his entourage having interesting encounters in the forest, the kidnapping of Sita, and the battle between the king of the white monkeys and the king of the giants.
If you haven’t watched a Kecak colossal performance, here’s some of the best places to go:
The Kecak show at Uluwatu Temple starts at sunset time. The show here is made more dramatic with colourful sunset of the famous Uluwatu sunset. Come here early so you enjoy the breathtaking bird’s eye view of the Indian Ocean, and tour the temple’s premises.
GWK CULTURAL PARK
The Garuda Wisnu Kencana in Ungasan holds its nightly Kecak show at 6.30pm at the park’s amphitheater. If you wish to watch the show, you might as well come early so you can check out the giant pieces of the statue of God Vishnu riding his trusted companion, the mythical giant bird Garuda. The pieces are currently being assembled, and is set to be the tallest in the world.
GWK Cultural Park
Address : Jalan Raya Uluwatu, Ungasan
Telephone : +62 361 700 808
Website : www.gwkbali.com
Nightly Kecak and Fire Dance performance also takes place at Sahadewa in Batubulan near Sukawati. The Kecak starts at 6.30pm to 7.30pm.
Sahadewa Barong Dance
Address : Jalan SMKI No. 25 Batu Bulan,
Telephone : +62 361 298 607
Website : www.sahadewabarongdance.com
TAMAN KAJA VILLAGE
In Ubud, Kecak Dance is best observed at the village temple of Taman Kaja. The temple, Pura Dalem Taman Kaja, has recently been renovated, going through a series of two-week long big ceremonies to complete the whole renovation process. The Kecak Fire and Trance Dance at the temple is held on Wednesday and Saturday nights at 7.30pm.
Pura Dalem Taman Kaja
Address : Taman Kaja Village, Ubud
Telephone : +62 361 970 508
Website : www.kecakdance.com