October 2004

Ubud, Bali

Kechak Trance and Fire Dance

Kechak is an extremely popular and well-known Balinese dance. This dance is performed by a large group of men who sit in a circle and chant. They produce the chak-a-chak sound after which the dance is named. The Kechak dance does not have a Gamelan accompaniment. The sound produced by the male dancers creates the background for the dance. The Kechak dance tells the story of Prince Rama and his quest to rescue his wife Sita from the clutches of the demon-king Ravana. The chanting men in the Kechak dance represent the monkey army which accompanied Rama to Lanka.

Barong Dance

The Barong dance represents the eternal struggle between good and evil. The Barong personifies all that is good. Evil is personified in the shape of Rangda, an evil witch. The Barong is supposed to protect the village from the evil witch Rangda. The two duel, and eventually Rangda is defeated. This represents the triumph of good over evil. The battle is the most important feature of the Barong dance.