The Kecak dance is one of the most famous of Balinese dances. It is unusual because it has no musical accompaniment like many other Indonesian dances do, the rhythm of the dance is produced by the chanting ‘monkey’ chorus. Instead, a troupe of over 150 bare-chested men serve as the chorus, making a wondrous cacophony of synchronized “chak-achak-achak” clicking sounds while swaying their bodies and waving their hands .From that chanting noise of “Cak-cak-cak”, then it gave the dance its name Kecak.
What makes the Kecak such a fascinating dance to watch are the fifty or so men in the checkered pants. They are both the choir and the props, providing the music for the story in a series of constant vocal chants that change with the mood of the actors. They don’t sit still, either, they wave their arms to simulate fire, and reposition themselves around the stage to represent wind and fire, prison cells, and unseen hand of protection from the gods.
The dance is played in five acts and lasts roughly 45 minutes. It taken from the Hindu epic Ramayana, which tells the story of Prince Rama and his rescue of Princess Sita, who has been kidnapped by the evil King of Lanka, Rahwana and somehow with the help of the white monkey army, Rama rescues his wife and defeats the evil Rahwana.
Attending a Kecak recital is a must for any visitor to Bali. It is a wondrous experience, and a window into the musical and artistic culture that make the Balinese a special people.