Bali is a tropical island paradise. It mesmerizes with its beauty and with an array of colorful traditions and customs of the Balinese people. Despite the thriving tourism industry and growth of western-style amenities, many intact cultural events still exist. The Kecak dance or “Monkey Dance” is a tradition since the 1930’s. The Kecak (pronounced Ket-Ja) is a musical performance; so don’t let the “dance” part discourage you, men, out there.
The performance is taken from the Hindu story of Ramayana. The story of Prince Rama and his rescue of Prince Sita, and it’s a hypnotic array of costumes, colors, dance and sounds uniquely Balinese. It starts at sunset and performed in candlelight.
The performance is special because there is a unique star of the show. The music chorus is performed entirely by 50-100 bare-chested men, imitating the sounds and chanting of monkeys.
It’s become a popular tourist attraction, but the best way to see it, is in a local village, instead of the popular spots like Central Ubud or Uluwatu.
Outside Ubud, Bali is the small village of Junjugan; It is nestled within a community of incredible views of emerald green, family-owned rice fields, a few sparse guesthouses and the beautiful Pura Desa Temple. The temple stands tall and grand just around the bend in the road in the center of the village.
One night a week, the local villagers perform the Kecak dance, at the temple, surrounded by tourists seated along the cobblestone platform around inside.
For one hour, we were mesmerized with sounds, colors, and exotic moves. When the performance finishes, the actors and voice musicians all head back to their homes for dinner.
To see this version of Kecak in Bali, simply contact: kecakjunjungan at yahoo.co.id. There is free transportation from the Ubud Tourist Info Centre to the Pura Desa Temple in Junjungan.
Dorene is a marketing consultant and freelance writer. She quit her 20-year career in marketing to redesign her career and lifestyle on her own terms by living location independent. Now with her husband Troy, she helps people who want to redefine their midlife and make conscious changes at TravelLifeX. She also trains & coaches travel and hospitality clients to improve their marketing at TravelLifeMedia.com