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Directory Home> Bali Dances> The Dance of Bali
 
THE DANCE OF BALI
 
The Kecak “Cak-cak-cak”  This obsessive sound (resembling the chattering of monkeys) of a choir from beyond the dust of ages suddenly rises between the lofty trees. Darkness looms over the stage. Hundreds of breasted men sit in a circle 'Around the flickering light of an oil lamp chandelier. "Cak-Cak". They start dancing to the rhythatic sound of their own voices, their hands raised to the sky and bodies shaking in unison.

This is the unique Kecak, commonly called the "Monkey Dance" by tourists. Originally the kecak was just an element of the older Sang Hyang trance dance. It consisted of a male choir praying obsessively to the souls of their ancestors. At the initiative of painter Walter Spies, this religious choir was transformed into a dance by providing it with a narrative. It was developed by Limbak, the great baris dancer from north Bedulu with his Kecak group. The ballet is the Ramayana epic. The prince Rama, his wife Sita and his brother Laksmana are exiled in the middle of the forest. Rama goes hunting a golden deer at the request of his wife, who saw the strange animal and has asked him to catch it. While he is away, she is kidnapped by Rawana and taken to the latter's island kingdom of Alengka (Srilangka).

Rama allies himself with the monkeys and in particular with the white monkey Hanuman. They build a bridge crossing to the island. War explodes and eventually Rama defeats Rawana and is reunited with his faithful wife
 
 
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