Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kecak Dance

Kecak (pronounced [ˈketʃa], alternate spellings: Ketjak and Ketjack) is a form of Balinese dance and music drama, it originated in the 1930s Bali and is performed primarily by men, although a few women's kecak groups exist as of 2006.

Also known as the Ramayana Monkey Chant, the piece, performed by a circle of 150 or more performers wearing checked cloth around their waists, percussively chanting "cak" and throwing up their arms, depicts a battle from the Ramayana where the monkey-like Vanara helped Prince Rama fight the evil King Ravana. However, Kecak has roots in sanghyang, a trance-inducing exorcism dance.

Kecak was originally a trance ritual accompanied by male chorus. German painter and musician Walter Spies became deeply interested in the ritual while living in Bali in the 1930s and worked to recreate it into a drama, based on the Hindu Ramayana and including dance, intended to be presented to Western tourist audiences. This transformation is an example of what James Clifford describes as part of the "modern art-culture system" in which, "the West or the central power adopts, transforms, and consumes non-Western or peripheral cultural elements, while making 'art' which was once embedded in the culture as a whole, into a separate entity." Spies worked with Wayan Limbak and Limbak popularized the dance by traveling throughout the world with Balinese performance groups. These travels have helped to make the Kecak famous throughout the world.

Performer, choreographer, and scholar I Wayan Dibia cites a contrasting theory that the Balinese were already developing the form when Spies arrived on the island. For example, well-known dancer I Limbak had incorporated Baris movements into the cak leader role during the 1920s. "Spies liked this innovation," and it suggested that Limbak, "devise a spectacle based on the Ramayana," accompanied by cak chorus rather than gamelan, as would have been usual.

Kecak is a spectacular dance usually performed at night, surrounding a bonfire. The westerners called this dance The Monkey Dance, for the movements may remind us of monkey's movements. There can literally be one hundred or more bare chested men, sitting down on the ground surrounding the bonfire, led by a priest in the middle. The only music to accompany them are the beats of their palms hitting their chests, their thighs, or other parts of their bodies, or their claps, rhythmically accompanied by shouting and chanting.

The dancers move in unison, creating a spectacular choreographic performance. Either hands stretched out, pulled in, rested on the shoulder of the next person, or waists gyrated left and right, etc.

Kecak dance available at Uluwatu Temple, Tanah Lot Temple, GWK Performance at 6 pm everyday, tours package click here !!