Imagine dozens of men in traditional Balinese costumes, loudly chanting and dancing in rhythm in a large circle, while immaculately dressed actors enact stories from the Ramayana around fire torches. That’s what the iconic Kecak dance of Bali looks like. Based on the Hindu mythology of Ramayana, the actors and dancers enact how Ram and his brother Lakshman rescued the former’s wife, Sita, from the evil Ravana.
The Kecak dance has been recognized internationally as a unique Balinese art form that is performed every evening at the Uluwatu Temple and the Tanah Lot Temple.
Bucket List Item in Bali
The performance draws a massive crowd and is regarded as one of the top 10 activities to do in Bali. You can ask your local travel guide to take you to either one of the two locations and club this activity with a visit to the respective temples for a perfect way to end the day.
This dance form is quite dramatic in more ways than one and gives the audience a glimpse of rich Balinese culture and traditions in a beautiful setting. With the sun setting in the background, the stage is set for a dramatic performance by the actors, while the fire torches at the centre stage add to the ambience. The presence of fire is of much significance in this dance in order to portray how Ram’s loyal aide Hanuman burnt Ravana’s territory in their attempt to rescue Sita. There are no musical instruments used in this act, but the synchronised chanting of the dancers provide a wonderful backdrop for the entire performance.
If you are looking to have a truly authentic cultural experience in Bali beyond the usual tourist attractions, watching the Kecak dance is a must! These days there are also slight variations of the original performance enacted in certain places in Bali using a different storyline from the Ramayana. So if you’d like to watch something different, ask your guide from Locaguide to take you to the right places. A magical setting, coupled with gripping performances by the dancers, makes this one of the top things to do in Bali!2