Balinese Dancing - Legong and Kecak Fire Dance

Trip Start Feb 22, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Monday, April 4, 2011

Within our first day at Ubud we had booked tickets for two separate Balinese dance shows - the dramatic Legong Dance and the trance-filled Kecak Fire (or Monkey Chant) Dance.  Both proved to be exceptional performances!

Legong Dance
Just before the show was about to start a heavy rain started coming down on the outdoor stage.  To our luck they moved us to a cozier stage under a small pavilion that put us just feet away from the Legong performers. 

Our night of dance involved several unique performances including the traditional, graceful movements of the Legong as well as a stunning mask dance to end the evening.  The elaborate show kept us on the edge of our seats and the dancers didn't stop impressing us with their enchanting movements - so choreographed, purposeful and unique!  OH... and the show's gamelan (Balinese orchestra) played a lively set on their drums, metallophones, flutes and gongs that kept us entranced for the entire show.  Very cool.

Kecak Fire Dance
The next night was a special night as we went to see a Kecak Fire Dance with a dance troop that only performed twice a month on New and Full Moons.  In the pitch black of the New Moon we were enthralled by dozens of men and boys "monkey chanting" a hypnotic story while playing with blazing torches and balls of fire.  Rhythmic, trancey and completely entertaining - it left us chanting "chak, chak, che-chak, chak" all the way home.  It was also a great reminder of when we did monkey chanting together at Burning Man!
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Pam on

Went back and reread your entry, and replayed those marvelous videos over and over. That mask dance is other-worldly. Again, the challenge as a western outsider is to attempt to connect with the spirit informing those particular dance movements - the wonderful jerky way the dancer gets down the entrance steps, swishes his hair and that cloth he's carrying, even his yowling under the mask. Every detail bears deep meaining to the dancers and audience, so your having gone to this theater, blessed by the rainstorm, is a tremendous way to experience the Balinese culture. btw, the monkey photos are cute! Reminded me, Missi, of those cheeky barbary apes who jumped on our backs at the Rock of Gilbraltar. The masks you guys bought are true cultural artifacts to enjoy for a lifetime.
Hope you made it safe and sound into Laos.

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