Kecak Balinese Traditional Dance

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Kecak Dance, Everyday

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At the Amphitheater of Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, Bali, we give our visitors a free daily performance of Balinese famous dance, Kecak.

Our specials are collaboration between Kecak and other traditional dances resulting in unique & fresh dance performances everyday.

Kecak Dance performance at GWK Amphitheater

Kecak Dance performance at GWK Amphitheater

 

The History of Kecak

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Kecak was originally a trance ritual accompanied by male chorus. German painter and musician Walter Spies became deeply interested in the ritual while living in Bali in the 1930s and worked to recreate it into a drama, based on the Hindu Ramayana and including dance, intended to be presented to Western tourist audiences. This transformation is an example of what James Clifford describes as part of the “modern art-culture system” in which, “the West or the central power adopts, transforms, and consumes non-Western or peripheral cultural elements, while making ‘art’ which was once embedded in the culture as a whole, into a separate entity.”

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Spies worked with Wayan Limbak and Limbak popularized the dance by traveling throughout the world with Balinese performance groups. These travels have helped to make the Kecak famous throughout the world.

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Performer, choreographer, and scholar I Wayan Dibia cites a contrasting theory that the Balinese were already developing the form when Spies arrived on the island. For example, well-known dancer I Limbak had incorporated Baris movements into the cak leader role during the 1920s. “Spies liked this innovation,” and it suggested that Limbak, “devise a spectacle based on the Ramayana,” accompanied by cak chorus rather than gamelan, as would have been usual.

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