Get to know the History and Origin of the Kecak Dance

Get to know the history and origins of the Kecak dance – Indonesian culture is very
diverse, even its diversity is well known throughout the world.
Talking about traditional
Indonesian dances, all of them have their own history and noble values.
One of the dance arts
that is owned and needs to be preserved is the Kecak Dance.
This dance has a story, history, to
its distinctive dance philosophy.

The dance originates from the island of Bali. The island, which is famous for its many tourist
destinations, has a unique dance called Kecak.
With its uniqueness, this dance is liked by some
immigrant communities who are interested in learning it.

“Cak, Cak, Cak” is the distinctive sound that you usually hear when you see the Balinese Kecak Dance
performance.
This Kecak dance is a dance drama art that is played by 50 to 150 dancers.

As the name implies, this dance consists of dancers, mostly men who sit cross-legged in a circle.
The clothes he wore were in the form of a sarong and a square cloth which had a black and white
color like a chessboard which was tied in a circle to the dancer’s waist.

For those of you who are traveling or living in Bali, of course you are already familiar with the Kecak
Dance.
This dance is performed when there are events, guests, or others.
Apparently attracting the sympathetic audience or visitors who come to see it.
However, behind the popularity of this dance, there is an origin, history, meaning, and some of the
properties used in this dance.

To get to know more about the Kecak Dance. Let’s look at the following discussion.

Origin of the Kecak Dance

The Kecak dance is one of the most popular dances on the island of Bali. Not only famous, this
dance is usually also used as a ceremony to welcome guests, as well as religious ceremonies.

So, however, do you know how the Kecak Dance originated in ancient times so that it can become quite
popular today?
The following is a complete discussion of the origin of the traditional art
dance called the Kecak Dance.

Kecak dance is one of the dances originating from Bali. This dance is also known as the Fire
Dance or Cak Dance.
This dance is a mass entertainment performance dance. This
dance is performed by several male dancers, wearing a black and white checkered cloth covering the shape of
a chessboard.

This dance is played without using musical accompaniment in the form of a gamelan. By sitting
in a row to form a circle pattern and accompanied by a rhythmic call that reads “cak, cak, cak” while
raising both hands.

This dance is a sacred dance. It can be seen from the dancers who are burned by fire, but they
do not experience pain and are not burned, instead they become immune to fire.

Apart from the Fire Dance or Cak Dance, the Kecak Dance is also known as the Sanghyang Dance which is performed
during religious ceremonies.

At that time, these dancers were generally possessed by spirits, and could interact with the ancestors or
gods who had been purified by them.
He used this dancer as a medium to convey His word.
When possessed, they also perform actions beyond expectations. For example, doing some
quite dangerous moves or making sounds that they rarely make.

Wayan Limbak is a creator figure of the Kecak Dance. In 1930, he introduced this dance to
various countries, assisted by a painter from Germany named Walter Spies.

The male dancers who dance this, will shout the word “cak, cak, cak”. It was from this call
that the name Kecak was created.

Not only shouting that word, the dancers are also accompanied by music in the form of rattles.
The sound comes from the ring tied to the feet of the dancers from the Ramayana cast.

Inside the circle, the dancers then act. By playing a number of dances taken from several
episodes of the Ramayana story, he tries to save Shinta from the evil hands of Ravana.
Not a
few of the Kecak Dance also involve visitors who are watching the dance action.

History of the Kecak Dance

Indonesia has a variety of traditional arts that are scattered throughout the region and amaze visitors
from abroad.
With one of the arts, namely the Kecak Dance which comes from Bali.

This dance is quite popular for national and international tourists visiting Bali. Also, it
feels like something is missing, when you don’t watch the performance of the Kecak Dance.

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However, do you know how the history of the Kecak Dance in ancient times until now has become quite
popular?
The following is a complete explanation of the history of this traditional art called
the Kecak Dance.

The reason Walter helped Wayan Limbak create this dance was because Walter was very interested in one
traditional art, namely the Kecak Dance.
As well as having an interest in a number of
traditional rituals that are still quite strong.
Now, while the exclamation of words that exist
or are heard when the players play the Kecak dance, there is also an exclamation in the form of the word
“cak cak cak” when you play this dance.

From the Sanghyang tradition, this dance art was lifted from a number of parts of the Ramayana story.
Meanwhile, the origin of this dance is created from shouts or exclamations of words that appear
from his lips which sound and are named “cak cak cak” when he is played or performed.

As explained above, the Kecak Dance originates from the province of Bali. The sound of the
strains of this dance becomes distinctive when the dancers tie the bells on each other’s feet.
The ornaments worn become more complete and beautiful when performing this art.

Because, this dance is accompanied by music that comes from the rattles of the dancers. That
distinctive voice is the main attraction for this Kecak Dance.
As well as giving an impression
to the audience who saw the show and heard the rattles.

Walter and Wayan discussed making this dance as attractive and beautiful as possible, then introducing it
to various countries or foreign countries.
Not even a few of the local people perform the Kecak
Dance, when welcoming the big guests.

Initially, this dance was only performed in a few villages, with one of the villages being Bona Village in
Gianyar.
Over time, this performance has grown to all areas on the island of Bali.
Not only that, this dance is also used as a mainstay show when there are big activities.
For example, festivals are often carried out by the private sector or the government.

The Meaning of the Movement

If you make a visit to travel to the island of Bali. Of course, it won’t be complete if you
don’t see some of the most beautiful and captivating traditional performances this island has to offer.
Apart from the Janger Dance and Bangor, there are other stunning performances that you shouldn’t
miss, namely the Kecak Dance, which is one of the masterpieces of art from Bali in the form of dance and
musical drama.

Shows performed in the open with the accompaniment of the wind before sunset. Usually held on
a cliff overlooking the sea, the story is completely dependent on natural light at that time of day.
Starting at dusk, the story continues in the dark, when there is only light coming from the
flickering bamboo torches.

This dance originating from the island of Bali is not just body movements, but there is a story in every movement
that is meaningful

Do you know what are the meanings of this Kecak dance movement. Let’s look at the following
understanding of the meaning of the Kecak dance movements.

When the dancers enter the stage, the story begins. Then, it was followed by Ravana bringing
or kidnapping Shinta.
Later, Ravana fights against Jatayu and Hanuman to save Shinta.
During the rescue process, Hanuman disrupted Shinta’s captivity by setting fire to it.

However, Hanuman was surrounded by Ravana’s soldiers and almost burned. Initially, Rama did
experience defeat.
But this did not stop Rama from saving his empress, Shinta.

King Rama also prayed earnestly and again tried to bring back his queen. Until finally, Rama
managed to get Shinta in a safe condition.

From that story, there is a quite deep meaning of the Kecak Dance, namely the belief in God’s power.
This is reflected in Rama’s actions when asking the Gods for help.

Things like that teach a lesson that this dance is believed to be a ritual to bring in a goddess who is able to
drive away all harm, be it disaster or disease that befalls society.

Meanwhile, there is a moral message in the form of the Kecak dance which reflects Rama’s behavior towards his
beloved empress, Shinta, and the Garuda bird, which is willing to sacrifice its wings for Shinta.

In addition to these moral messages, there are several other moral messages. Are as
follows:

1. Contains High Artistic Value

Even though it is not accompanied by music or gamelan strains, the Kecak Dance still looks beautiful and
compact.
The movements made by the dancers can remain in tune. That is what makes
it of high artistic value and favored by tourists.
Even though the tourists who come to see the
traditional art performance in the form of the Kecak Dance are not Hindu, they are happy to see the Kecak
dance performance.
It feels like something is missing when you go to Bali and don’t watch this
dance.

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2. Learn to Rely on God’s Strength

In the Kecak dance, there is a scene where Rama asks the Gods for help. This proves that Rama
believes in the power of God to help him.
The Kecak dance is also believed to be one of the
rituals to summon a goddess who can drive away disease and protect people and evil forces that come.
The goddess who is generally invoked in this ritual is Dewi Suprabha or also called
Tilotama.

3. Lots of Moral Messages

The Kecak dance has quite a deep story and conveys several moral messages to its viewers. For
example, Shinta’s loyalty to her husband, Rama.
As well as the Garuda bird, which is willing to
sacrifice its wings to save Shinta from Ravana’s clutches.
From this story, we are all also
taught that in order not to have bad traits like Ravana who is greedy and likes to take other people’s
property by force.

Even though the Kecak Dance is not accompanied by gamelan music, its movements still seem very compact and
energetic.
Where every movement made by fellow dancers is very rhythmic and has high artistic
value.
This dance is also not only intended for adherents of Hinduism, but all religious people
can still enjoy it properly.
So for those of you who want to watch this Kecak dance
performance, he is welcome or allowed.

Kecak Dance Property

You must have often heard about the Kecak Dance. In fact, you’ve probably seen the show live
before.
The dance performance performed by several dancers is accompanied by the sound of “cak
cak cak” from 70 male dancers.
This show is indeed something that cannot be missed when you
visit Bali.

The beauty and uniqueness of the dance is able to become a special attraction for tourists.
But did you know that in this Kecak Dance there are several properties that need to be prepared
before performing the Kecak dance.
Well, what are they? Let’s look at the
following discussion.

1. Embers

Embers are one of the main properties that must be present in the Kecak Dance performance.
These embers will later be stepped on by each dancer without wearing footwear or just using bare
feet.

2. Cambodian Flowers

The next property of the Kecak dance is frangipani flowers. For the people of Bali, the
frangipani flower is a natural essence that can bring enlightenment and goodness.
This
frangipani flower is also often used in various special ritual ceremonies, one of which is the Kecak Dance.
This flower is usually tucked into the ears of the dancers.

3. Rattle Bracelet

Ring rattle is a property used in the Kecak dance. This bracelet is capable of producing a
sound loud enough to accompany music.
In that dance, this bracelet is only worn on the feet of
the male dancer who becomes the Ramayana.
Apart from being worn on the feet, rattle bracelets
are also worn on the wrists.

4. Black and White Shawl

The property that must exist for the accompaniment of the Kecak dance is a black and white shawl with a
checkered pattern.
This black and white shawl is pinned while dancing. The cloth
used has a meaning, namely as the concept of Rwa Bhineda which is identical to black and white.

5. Mask

The property of the Kecak Dance that must be used next is the mask. This mask is used by the
main dancers who have the roles of Hanuman, Sugriwa and Ravana.

6. Place of offerings

The next property is a place for offerings which are generally placed in several parts of the place.
It is believed to help bring good luck and repel all bad luck.

These are all properties that are used before the Kecak dance performance begins. So that the
appearance that is broadcast can be maximized and be able to attract the attention of the audience.

Sample image

Here are some examples of images from the Kecak Dance. Among them are:

As a cultural heritage in Indonesia, the Kecak Dance is one of the attractions for tourists who come to
Bali.
The dance has a history to the meaning it has.

Above are some discussions about the traditional Indonesian art, namely the Kecak Dance.
Consists of Origin, History, Meaning of the move, and the Properties it uses.
Hopefully the above can provide an understanding of insight into culture in Indonesia.

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