I have watched many versions of the epic story of Rama and Sita base on the Hindu text.
The story, features, props, costumes and interpretation of this tale varies as you make your way around South East Asia.
But I’ve got to say that the Balinese are unparalleled when it comes to injecting that extra special dramatic effect by utilising nature’s very own colour palette as a backdrop for their presentation.
The Kecak dance performance that is base on the sensational chapter where Sita is kidnapped by the antagonist – the evil King Ravana – is performed at the Uluwatu Temple (Pura Luhur Uluwatu) at the southern-western tip of Bali’s Bukit Peninsular overlooking the Indian Ocean.
The Kecak dance in Uluwatu is performed at sunset, allowing the varying colours of the sky and sea during this time to provide a dramatic backdrop for the entire show.
Unlike other dance performances, Kecak depends on the voices of more than a 100 men who enter the amphitheater with their hands raised and swaying, while chanting “cak, cak, cak…” in unison to create a melody before surrounding a fire that is lit by a priest who prays before the flames before and during the performance.
The scene above is also a warning from Hanuman to Rhawana and his men of Rama’s impending attack on Alengka.
After an epic battle between good and evil, Sita is rescued and reunited with Rama.