The Kecak dance is a dance that is quite popular among tourists visiting the island of Bali. Foreign tourists usually call this dance “Monkey Dance” because they think the sound produced is like the sound of a monkey and in the Kecak dance movement itself, there is a monkey (hanuman).
Favorite places for tourists to watch this dance are in the Batubulan and Uluwatu and Tanah Lot areas where this dance is performed against a stunning sunset backdrop.
Bali Kecak Dance Performance And Kecak Dance History
Balinese Kecak dance was created around the 1930s by a famous Balinese dancer, I Wayan Limbak, and a German painter, Walter Spies. They get inspiration after watching dances in the Sanghyang ritual where the dancers dance in a state of being possessed by a spirit (trance).
The Sanghyang ritual itself is a Balinese ritual that originates from pre-Hindu traditions with the aim of driving away evil forces. This ritual was then adopted and integrated into the Kecak Dance by I Wayan Limbak and Walter Spies to become a performing art for the public to be displayed in various countries in Europe.
Kecak bali dance is usually played by a number of male dancers, numbering between 50 and 150 people for 45 to 60 minutes. This dance combines the chorus of the dancers (similar to a cappella) with the sound of “cak, cak, cak …” which mutters while raising both arms to accompany the epic story of Ramayana which is the main story of this dance and you can see at uluwatu sunset and kecak dance.
As mentioned above, because the chorus spoken by the dancers is considered similar to the monkey’s voice, foreign tourists often refer to this dance as “Monkey Dance” Kecak dance origin.
What is the Kecak dance
Regarding the naming of this dance, we can quickly conclude that the name Kecak is taken from the sound that is spoken and sung by the dancers throughout the performance, namely “cak, cak, cak …” Traditional Kecak dance does not rely on musical instruments to accompany the dance, but rather a choir. the dancers.
Actually there lies the uniqueness of the Kecak dance which distinguishes it from other traditional Balinese dances. The rhythm of the sound “cak, cak, cak …” which is continually echoed is arranged in such a way as to produce a very harmonious blend, which is also interspersed with several accents and other words that are no less interesting.
The fragment of the Ramayana epic which is the source of the story is the story of the kidnapping of Dewi Sita (the wife of Rama) by King Rahwana from the land of Alengka. In this dance, it is described how Rama struggles to free his wife, Dewi Sita, who was kidnapped and taken away by Rahwana.
In his struggle, Rama is assisted by his younger brother Laksmana and also Hanoman (White Ape) and Sugriwa (Monkey King). Kecak dancers who sing the cak sound are usually shirtless and only wear plaid cloth like a chessboard (poleng cloth). Meanwhile, the characters Rama, Sita, Laksmana, Rahwana, Hanoman, and Sugriwa wore complete dance clothes.
Apart from staging the epic Ramayana story, the Kecak Dance also features the Sanghyang Dedari and Sanghyang Jaran dances as the closing show.
The Sanghyang Dedari and Sanghyang Jaran dances are mystical dances in which the dancers are believed to be possessed by spirits, making them immune when dancing on hot coals. Dedari dance is a dance to ward off evil spirits which is performed by two girls who are still virgins.
While the Sanghyang Jaran Dance is a dance performed by a man who is possessed prancing like a horse dancing on hot coals. Because the Kecak dance is identical to the Sanghyang Jaran dance, the Kecak dance is also often referred to as the “Kecak and Fire Dance” or the Kecak and the Fire Dance.
Balinese Kecak Dance – Monkey Dance
has continued to experience changes and developments since the 1970s which includes aspects of stories and performances. In terms of the story, the performance is not only based on one part of the Ramayana but also other parts of the story from the Ramayana.
Then in terms of performance, it also began to experience development which at first could only be seen in the village of Bona – Gianyar, then expanded to other villages in Bali so that throughout Bali there were dozens of Kecak groups consisting of members of the Banjar.
Activities such as the Kecak festival are also often held in Bali either by the government or by art schools in Bali. It was also recorded that the largest number of Kecak dancers was in 1979, which involved 500 dancers. At that time the Kecak dance took a story from the Mahabharata story.
Then, this record was again broken by the Tabanan Regency Government which organized a colossal kecak with 5000 dancers on September 29, 2006, in Tanah Lot, Tabanan, Bali.
is a dance that is rich in traditional values and beliefs of the Balinese people. I am proud to know that this dance has not been eroded by modernization. Of course, this dance will still grow and be sustainable together with the full life of the Balinese people with art.
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