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The Kecak Dance

Bali - The Kecak 

The Kecak is an unusual Balinese dance for a couple of reasons.

First, there is no musical accompaniment. The gamelan is not there. Rhythm is provided by a chanting 'monkey' chorus. The polyrhythmic sound of the chanting provides the name, 'Ke-chak'.

The fifty man chorus gathers in a ring around a flame, to create a stage. They also act as various monkey armies in the story, and become an undulating snake in one of the pivotal scenes.

With only the flame as lighting, this performance takes on a primeval feel, especially when staged outside of a hotel setting.

Secondly, the Kecak is one of the only dances that was invented for tourists. It's almost never watched by the Balinese.


The story line for the Kecak is taken from the Ramayana.

Prince Rama goes hunting for a golden deer and his beautiful wife is kidnapped by the evil Rawana.

Story is secondary in this performance, though. If you want to see the story of the Ramayana, you should see a Ramayana performance.

The Kecak is a triumph of style and mood, rather than story.
Watch the faces of audience members. More than any other Balinese dance, the Kecak turns every viewer into a child, wide-eyed and transfixed.