Modern 'Chak-a-chak-a-chak' dance developed
DENPASAR (indo.com): The modern Kecak dance has evolved
in the Bona Village and Batubulan areas near Gianyar in
East Bali, and is regularly performed in late afternoon,
at around 6:30 p.m.
The kecak dance is an unusual one, and probably the best
known of the many Balinese dances. When performed, it
does not employ the use of gamelan as an accompaniment,
but instead the background is provided by a chanting chorus
of a large group of men producing the repetitious sound
Originally, this chanting group was known as the kecak
and was part of a Sang Hyang trance dance, which is performed
to ward off evil spirits and diseases during times of
plague. In the 1930s, the famous kecak dancer and founding
father of this dance, Pak Limbak, went on to recount his
engagements with Walter Spies.
When performed inside a temple area, the kecak dance
is excellent entertainment for travellers to Bali, but
it also has ritual purposes that many remain unaware of.
It stimulates the invisible superpower to enter one of
the group members until he is in a state of trance, and
then casts away the evil spirits. Special offerings must
be made before it is performed in order to clean the stage
spiritually from the dirt (ie. of evil spirits).
Throughout the dance, the surrounding circle of men,
all bare chested and wearing checked cloth around their
waists, provide a non-stop accompaniment that rises to
crescendo as they play the monkey army and fight it out
with Rahwana and his cronies. The chanting is superbly
Kecak dance tells a tale from the Ramayana epic, one of
the great Hindu holy books, about Prince Rama, his Princess
Sita, and Rama's brother, Laksamana, who have been exiled
from the kingdom of Ayodya and are wandering in the forest.
The evil Rahwana, king of Alengka Pura, kidnaps Sita when
Rama leaves her to help Laksamana (his brother) to catch
a golden deer, which she very much wants.
Thousands of monkeys under the leader Hanuman (the white
monkey) assist Rama to save his beloved wife. The drand
finale is a great battle, where good wins out over evil
and Rama and Sita returned home - but Rahwana and his
brother Kumbakarna were killed by monkey troop.