Kecak Dance at Uluwatu Temple

November 23rd, 2020

After yesterday’s arrival at Uluwatu Temple, tonight we’re watching the Kecak Dance. The dance has an interesting origin as an adaptation of sanghyang, a repertoire of sacred dances in Bali — some of which are trance dances, during which a supernatural force enters the body of the performer(s).

In the 1930s, German artist Walter Spies (visiting Bali at the time) and Indonesian dancer Wayan Limbak developed Kecak from sanghyang, with the addition of the story of the Ramayana (epic poetry of ancient India). The Kecak dance has no music — only continual chanting (known as the monkey chant) by the large group of male performers who are vanaras, or forest dwellers, and present throughout the dance. Solo characters of the Kecak dance include Sita, Rama, Ravana and Hanuman. Understanding the battle portrayed during the dance would certainly take more than one performance, but the first impression was powerful.

I hope you enjoy the photos. The light was low and I didn’t use a flash or a tripod, I was standing where the performers entered the stage, and I can tell (from looking at my photos) that I was trying to watch as much with my eyes as I was with my camera. Not the most successful series of photos, but I do like the color and motion!

Tomorrow, I have one more (re)post from Bali before we get back on the magic carpet. We’ll visit a few villas and I’ll share some thoughts on how to make Bali a relatively affordable vacation. With recent vaccine news, maybe we can start travel dreaming again… What do you think?

More tomorrow,
Kelly

Post of the Day: Adding a bit of light to the darkness as we get through the pandemic together. This series features travel photos from my archives, shared with you while staying close to home.

6 comments

  • I like the photos, they capture the movement and colours well, the explanation of the sources is also interesting. I wonder if the dancers are still in a religious setting or is it just a performance for them.

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    • Thank you. I think in Bali there is always an element of reverence which makes the experience of being there so memorable. But primarily, this is a performance for tourists — which is what Mr. Spies intended originally… to share this dance with the rest of the world.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Reverence is a subtle and well-found word to explain the reinterpretation of religious practices for the purposes of tourist attractions. Eventually, it is an enjoyable way to educate visitors about the local culture.

        Liked by 1 person

  • Love these Kelly although I cant agree with your self-criticism of the photos which for me include some of your best, particularly the two of the dancers. The blurring captures the movement, color and excitement of the experience brilliantly. 😊💕

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  • I saw a performance in Ubud. It was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever seen! I also love the blurred photos – they really capture the feel of it.
    Alison

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