All posts tagged: Indonesia

Kecak fire dance, Uluwatu Temple, Bali

On a clifftop temple overlooking the southern coast of Bali, curious travellers gather at dusk to witness a ritual fire dance and chanting performance called Sanghyang that takes place over four acts. Presented at the front gate with a sash to tie our sarong, we are lead by a warm old local man along the cliffside. The Uluwatu waves roll on below. We take a front-row seat and wait with anticipation for the performance to begin. I am a tad excited as I’ve wanted to see a Kecak ceremony since witnessing this strange Balinese monkey dance in the documentary Baraka in the early 90s.   Quiet overcomes the temple as a white-robed man lights fire to a central stone carving. We can hear a growing chorus of chuck-a chuck-a chuck-a chuck-a chuck-a chuck-a as the chanters near the temple theatre. Seventy male dancers arrive through the cliffside entrance, arms raised, clucking in unison. They create a circle around the central carving and seated, they continue the trance-like incantation, arms waving left and right, then thrust …