Information before you go
The Kecak dance (pronounced as 'ke-tjak'), also known as the fire & trance dance, is one of our favorite Balinese dance performances. This traditional dance was originally a exorcism ritual in which a group of men continuously chant 'cak' while another would go into a trance.
But in the 1930's Wayan Limbak and the German artist Walter Spies transformed this trance ritual into the famous Hindu drama Ramayana
Temple site where the performance is held...
The trance ritual remained the same but in order to attract a Western audience they added Balinese dancers and a story teller who explains the Hindu epic of Ramayana in Balinese.
The Ramayana tells the story of Prince Rama who wants to rescue his kidnapped wife, princess Sita from the hands of the evil Rawana, King of Lanka. The Prince asks the General of the Monkey Army, Hanoman, for help. It is a typical story between good and evil described by performers who wear colorful masks, are beautifully dressed and dance gracefully.
After the performance ends someone conducts a Sanghyang Jaran trance dance and rides on a wooden horse through burning coconut shells sending embers through the sky. Be careful of flying coconut shells. The Hindu priest eventually helps the man get out of his trance
The Sanghyang Jaran Trance dance
The whole combination of a dozen of men chanting around flickering oil lamps, under the stars while they move their bodies and sway their hands accompanied by the crispy yet firm voice of the story teller and the dancers depicting the drama between good and evil makes this whole performance a dramatic and mesmerized one.
It is definitely not a performance to be missed....
The Kecak is performed daily on different places on the island. In Ubud you are likely to witness this dance at a temple complex near an old banyan tree at various locations. Their are many groups such as the Taman Kaja Community that perform the kecak fire dance at their temple complex.
But there are many other unique settings where the Kecak trance dance is held. The most popular is at Pura Luhur Uluwatu, mainly known as Uluwatu temple. This is an ideal location if you are staying in Kuta area or Jimbaran beach.
Another amazing setting to witness this Balinese dance is at Tanah Lot temple. After enjoying the amazing sunset at this famous temple you can arrange tickets at the Surya Mandala Cultural Park Tanah Lot for the performance that starts at 18.30.
Much further towards the north, about 21km from the village Tabanan you can find Batu Karu temple. Here, amid thick vegetation and fresh air you can enjoy the Kecak performance on Sunday and Wednesday at 19.30. Tickets and transportation can be arranged at any tourist office in town.
If you happen to be in Ubud during full moon or new moon then head to ARMA open stage because only then do they perform this fascinating performance.
A dance performance might seem like a tourist trap. Yes, they are performed for tourists but the essence of the dance is still of great importance for the Balinese....Read more
Dances are accompanied by the Gamelan orchestra. Each village has its own and it plays an important role in the life of the Balinese. Some tunes will become familiar to you.Read more
Bali is surrounded by art. And luckily you are able to learn a thing of two about it, if you want. Courses are given all over the islands, but Ubud has the largest choice.Read more
Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
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