Kecak and Fire Dance (Bali)*

*I copied (with some minor changes) the description of Kecak and Fire Dance from the paper I received at Pura Luhur Uluwatu.

Visitors on their way to the open air grounds where kecak and fire dance will be performed.

Visitors on their way to the open air grounds where kecak and fire dance will be performed.

The right side of the area where my fellow tourists bake under the sun while we wait for the kecak performance.

The right side of the area where my fellow tourists baked under the sun while we waited for the kecak performance.

At the ticket purchasing area, they ask the tourists where they are from. Then, they give each one a paper with the brief story Ramayana, part of which is written below. We got the English version.

Kecak is the most unique Balinese dance which is not accompanied by any orchestra/gamelan but by a choir of seventy men. It has its origin in an old ritual dance, sanghyang or trance dance. In the sanghyang dance, a person in a state of trance communicates with the deities or ancestors. Using the dancers as a medium, the deities or ancestors convey their wishes. In the 1930’s, the old Indian epic Ramayana was included into the dance.

Briefly the story runs as follows: Due to a wise prince of Ayodya, Rama, the legal heir to the throne of Ayodya was exiled from the realm of his father Dasarata. Accompanied by his wife, Sita, and his younger brother, Laksamana, he went into a forest called Dandaka. While they were in the forest, the demon king Rahwana found them and lusted after the beautiful Sita. Accompanied by his (Rahwana) prime minister Marica, they made a trick to steal Sita. Using his magic power, Marica transformed himself into a golden deer. Disguised as a golden deer, they succeeded in luring Rama and Laksamana away from Sita. Rahwana, making use of this opportunity, kidnapped Sita and took her to his palace, Alengka. Discovering the deception, Rama and Laksamana set out to rescue Sita from the clutches of the demon king, assisted by a huge army of monkeys under the command of their king (Hanoman). Rama succeeded in getting his wife back safely.”

The kecak performance we witnessed was composed of four acts: Rama Sita and golden deer (I), Sita, Rahwana, Bagawan and Garuda (II), Twalen, Rama, Laksamana and Hanoman (III) and Sita, Trijata and Hanoman (IV).

This happened before the kecak performance. The lit object is the focal point of the kecak performance.

This happened before the kecak performance. The lit object is the focal point of the kecak performance.

The choir of men who performed kecak.

The choir of men who performed kecak.

The video below shows the introduction of kecak and fire dance.

Parts of kecak and fire dance

Parts of kecak and fire dance

Other parts of kecak and fire dance:

 

 

Other parts of kecak and fire dance.

Other parts of kecak and fire dance.

This is the end part of kecak and fire dance.

 

Virg and I with the kecak and fire dance performers

Virg and I with kecak and fire dance performers

Virg and I with a kecak and fire dance performer

Virg and I with a kecak and fire dance performer

Nitty Gritty Details

Particulars (Days 3 and 4) Local Currency US Dollars
Whole Body Massage (Carla Spa)** + tip IDR 60,000 + IDR 20,000 $6.15
Lunch Day 3 (Fajar Resto) Tamie a la Fajar IDR 19,000 $1.46
Pasalubong (Agung Bali) IDR 205,000 $15.76
Car + fuel + driver + parking fees from Kuta to Uluwatu and vice versa IDR 150,000 (IDR 300,000/2) $11.53
Entrance Fee (Pura Luhur Uluwatu) IDR 20,000 $1.54
Ticket for kecak and fire dance IDR 100,000 $7.69
Dinner Day 4 (along Uluwatu Beach) + tip IDR 240,000***(IDR 480,000/2) $18.45
Tip to driver IDR 50,000 $3.84
Tip to Kumang IDR 10,000 $0.77
Breakfast Day 4 (from a street vendor) Rice with chicken IDR 7,000 $0.54
Tip to driver IDR 20,000 $1.54
Plane ticket from Bali to Yogyakarta (Lion Air) IDR 579,065 $44.52
Total IDR 1,1480,065 $113.79

** The massage at Carla Spa is not great, as expected with the price. Our driver warned us that a massage that costs IDR 60,000 (US $4.63) would be “touch touch”. He was right, it was just “touch touch” for an hour. Their strong massage would not pass as one in the massage parlors in Manila. On the bright side, the masseuses were friendly.

***Dinner was expensive relative to what Virg and I had been eating prior to the Uluwatu dinner. The place is a contact of the tour agency. We did not order the set meals (which cost upwards of IDR 950,000 or US $73.25), but had fish and chips and calamares instead. Our order came with soup, a huge bowl of rice, side dishes and two small fruit platters. It has beautiful view of the water and fine white sand, but we arrived there after 7pm. We were not able to appreciate the view, but it is perfect for couples who want to have romantic dinner. They have accommodating and overly friendly waiters

 

4 thoughts on “Kecak and Fire Dance (Bali)*

    1. It lasted for an hour, from the time a woman read the introduction to the time when all the fires were extinguished. Kecak and fire dance is very traditional, so the closest comparison I can think of are our folk dances like itik-itik, tinikling and singkil. I think in terms of the variety of movements, lamang tayo because theirs is more of a chant and repetitive steps.

    1. Yes. 🙂 I can hear the chant until now, LSS lang. Nakakapagod ang ginawa nila, mainit ang araw at malapit pa sila sa apoy. Ako ang nauhaw para sa kanila. The last part of the show, which I assume was not part of Ramayana, was funny. There was audience participation that included dancing. 🙂

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