There’s a special traditional dance from Bali which is very famous and intriguing, it’s Kecak Dance. Kecak dance is Bali original show which only played by men, created in 1930 by Wayan Limbak cooperate with German painter, Walter Spies. Dozens of men dancer sit in a circle then with a rhythm they will shout and say ‘cak’ while put their both arms up. The duration of the dance performance is about 40-60 minutes. The dancer who shouts ‘cak’ wears plaid fabric like a chessboard in their waist and topless. Another dancer will play Ramayana figures, because kecak dance is about describing Ramayana story.
BTW, what’s Ramayana story? Ramayana is an old story from India composed by Walmiki. The story was about Rama who fought for saved his lovely wife Shinta, because Shinta was kidnapped by her admirer, Rahwana.
So, kecak dance describes about how Rama with his line of apes fight Rahwana to save Shinta in a traditional dance way. Kecak dance song came from Sanghyang ritual dance, in that ritual the dancer will be in unconscious condition communicate with God or ancestral spirits, then deliver its expectations to the society. Beside took a song from Sanghyang ritual, kecak dance doesn’t use any music except the sound from the anklet which used by the dancer who play as Ramayana figures.
As a show, kecak dance supported by some important factors like music from the voice of 50-70 men who shout ‘cak’ and all the men makes music by acapella. That makes kecak dance very different with another performing arts because it doesn’t need any musical instrument but the voice of the man who shout ‘cak’ with the ryhthm, so it still sounds so harmonious interspersed with some other accent. Beside the music, the narrator who lead the story is also very important in kecak dance because the main focus in kecak dance is the story and the blending of the ‘cak’ voice.
In this dance, after the show of Ramayana story, the show will be continued with Sanghyang Dedari and Sanghyang Jaran dance which its dancer could dance above the live coals because it’s pretty sure that the dancer possessed by spirits. This dance is a ritual dance to cast out the demons, the dancer of Sanghyang Dedari are two virgins. In Sanghyang Jaran dance, the dancer is a men who possessed by spirit so he could dance like a horse on live coals.
As it said in a first paragraph that kecak dance was created by the famous dancer in Bali, I Wayan Limbak and a painter from Germany, Walter Spies in 1930. At the beginning, they were mesmerized by the Sanghyang ritual dance where the dancer was dancing controlled by the spirits. Sanghyang ritual itself is a ritual from pra-Hindu tradition in order to refuse the cursed. Then the ritual was adopted by I Wayan Limbak and Walter Spies became a performing art to be showed in European countries, the dance called Tari Kecak. According to the tourist, the sound of ‘cak, cak, cak..’ is similar with monkey’s sound, so they sometimes called the dance as Monkey Dance.
Note: The picture is taken from www.infokebali.com