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KECAK DANCE

KECAK DANCE

Tchakatchakatchaka.... You probably heard that poly rhythmic sound on your way here, or even before.

Kecak Dance is famous worldwide. It has been inspired artists from all horizons, including Fellini in Satyricon, Geinoh Yamashirogumi, composer of Akira’s Original Soundtrack, avant-garde band Devo, or Mike Patton’s Mr. Bungle, just to name a few.

History of Kecak dance is also one of diversity, an early example of cross-cultural artistic influences: Kecak dance was originally part of a trance ritual. At the beginning of the 20th century, Wayan Limbak, a famous Indonesian dancer, wanted to develop it as a art form, including element of Baris, a traditional Indonesian war dance. In the meantime, Walter Spies, famous German painter, heard the story and became highly interested in it (he was also a musician). He collaborated with Wayan Limbak to turn it as new form of dancing. Wayan Limbak travelled the world with performance groups and made Kecak dance famous worldwide.

The story is taken from the Ramayana: Rama and his wife Sita have been banished from the kingdom by King Dasarata, in a plot conducted by Rama’s stepmother. The performance begins with the arrival of Rama, Sita, and Rama’s brother Laksama in the forest. Rahwana, an evil demon, who has been observing them for a while, conspire to steal beautiful Sita from Rama. He sends Marica, one of his kingdom’s ministers to set a trap and allow him to kidnap Sita. Marica transforms into a golden deer, enchanting Sita who asks Rama to capture it for her. Rama leaves Sita to chase the deer, while his brother stays to protect her.

But Sita convinces Laksamana to go help Rama. Rama agrees, but draws a magical protection circle on the ground, advising Sita not to step out from it at any cost. But Rahwana, disguised as a poor old priest, asks for help and Sita falls for it. Rhawana captures her and brings her to her palace. Sita, with the help of Rahwana’s niece, sends a message to Rama and Laksama explaining she’s being held prisoner at the palace.

In the meantime, Rama and Laksama are attacked by Meganada, Rahwasa’s son. Meganada vanquished with a magical arrows that turns into a dragon. They are captured. Fortunately, the bird Garuda comes to the rescue and frees the two brothers. They can continue their search for Sita, with the help of Sugriwa, king of the monkeys, and his army. The story ends with the defeat of Meganada and the rescue of Sita.

Kecak dance performances are held in numerous places in Bali, such as the Uluwatu and the Tanah Lot temples or in Ubud.
ADRIEN-JEAN LEMAYEUR

'Adrien-Jean Lemayeur came to Bali in 1932 and first settled in Denpasar. As many artists after him, he simply fell in love with Bali and what was supposed to be a 8 months stay, became a lifetime decision when he met Ni Pollok, a 15 year old girl who was famous for being the most talented Legong dancer in Bali. She later became Lemayeur’s model ...

IDA BAGUS MADE

Ida Bagus Made was born In Tebasaya in 1915, from a Brhaman family of artists. He first started to learn painting from his father and later on under the teachings of Rudolph Bonnet, considered him the most talented artists in Bali. He developed his art during the movement of modernization of Balinese art. At 21 in he joined the Pitamaha ...

NYOMAN MEJA

Born in Ubud in 1952, Nyoman Meja has built a bridge between tradition and modernity. He met Rudolph Bonnet in the 1970’s, which influenced his vision as post-traditional painter. As he still uses the Penalak as a strong reference to the Ubud style, his use of lighting is definitely of a modern approach. Among other topics, Nyoman Meja has ...

LEGONG KERATON

The most graceful of Balinese dances, this is the epitome of classical Balinese female dancing. A legong, as the dancer is known, is often a young girl of eight or nine years, rarely older than her early teens. It was first created in the 18th Century and is usually the first dance to be taught to beginners. There are many forms of Legong, ...

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Ketut Murtika was born in Batuan around 1950 and became one of the most famous painters of the Batuan school, a painting style practiced by Brahman artists. His style captures Bali’s unique mystical atmosphere with ethereal depiction of everyday life scenes, landscapes and animals. His art has been shown worldwide, including France, ...

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