• Blessings

    Before the actual Fire Dance performance, the priest will make several blessings.

  • Chanting

    There are no musical instruments during this dance, instead the dancers are accompanied
    by the chanting of the group of men.

  • Ramayana

    The dancers depict the story of the Prince Rama and Princess Sita, who has been
    kidnapped by the evil Rawana.

  • Good versus evil

    Like all story goes, the Ramayana tells the story between good and evil.

The Kecak dance, an epic story between good and evil


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

 

kecak stage ubud bali
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

 

ramayana bali dance

 

trance dance kecak
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.

kecak dancers ubud

 

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.


Home > Bali Culture > Kecak

Dance Performances

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....

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Music

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.

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Courses

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.

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Events

If you are love the traditional clothing of the Balinese, make sure you check out if there is a ceremony or a festival going on nearby. Everybody is dressed at its best.

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