Launching the first new, grand performance last month, the Bali Safari & Marine Park presented the “Kecak Masterpiece” – a spectacular one-hour performance by 115 dancers on Indonesia’s largest indoor stage at the park’s Bali Theatre. Bali’s iconic Kecak dance traces its contemporary roots to the village of Bone in Gianyar where, in the 1930s, dance-master Wayan Limbak, working in conjunction with the German artist and musician, Walter Spies, reworked the ancient Sanghyang dance of trance and exorcism.
The end result of that artistic collaboration is the mesmerising dance form that continues to be the cultural highlight of many visitors’ trips to Bali. Concentric circles of scores of bare-chested male performers chant and sing in eerie counterpoint as the battle of good versus evil taken from the epic tale of the epic Ramayana unfolds. In a daring new format that guarantees to enchant both an older generation familiar with the Kecak and a new generation viewing the dance for the very first time.
Following in the footsteps of Limbak, I Made Sidia – one of Indonesia’s leading choreographers and dramatists – has breathed new life into this favourite from the Balinese dance repertoire. Departing from established convention, Sidia has managed to preserve the essence of the original Kecak while interweaving elements of the Tek Tok Dance – another dance heavily reliant on the syncopated rhythms of the human voice. Ushering the performance into the modern age and apropos to the state-of-the-art performance venue to the Bali Theatre, “Kecak Masterpiece” is supported by sophisticated lighting, compelling music and sound effects – all combining in a way certain to viscerally move the audience.
“Kecak Masterpiece” is on stage each afternoon from 4.30 – 5:30pm daily, except Mondays. Theatre packages offer choices of a stand-alone dance performance or a dance performance followed by animal encounters and Balinese Buffet dinner at 6pm.