The Kecak Dance was created in the 1930s and the name comes from the sound of the “chark-a, chark-a, chark-a” chant participating make during the dance. Unlike the other Balinese dances that use musical accompaniment, the Kecak Dance relies on the art of sounds from the mouth!
You can watch Kecak Dances at several places in Bali, although the one in Ubud is the most authentic and the one at Uluwatu is the most interesting to watch because of its magnificent sunset.
The Barong Dance is probably the most well-known dance in Bali. It involves a story illustrating a fight between good and evil. The dance is a classic example of the Balinese way of acting out mythology and how myth and history are blended into one reality.
The story goes that Rangda, the mother of Erlangga, who was the King of Bali in the tenth century, was condemned by Erlangga’s father because she practiced black magic. After she became a widow, she summoned all the evil spirits in the jungle, the leaks and the demons, to come after Erlangga. A fight occurred, but she and her black magic troops were too strong so Erlangga had to ask for the help of Barong. So Barong came with Erlangga’s soldiers, and fight ensued. Rangda casted a spell that made Erlangga soldiers all want to kill themselves, pointing their poisoned keris (daggers) into their own stomachs and chests. But Barong then casted another spell that made the soldiers’ bodies resistant to the sharp daggers. At the end of the fight, Barong won and Rangda ran away.
You can watch the Barong Dance every evening at Ubud Palace around 7:30 p.m.
Want to discover paintings of the highest artistic merit? Just come to the village of Batuan, the center of art in Bali. This village successfully developed a distinctive style of paintings, Batuan style. The paintings began as experiments by Ida Bagus Made Togog and Ida Bagus Made Wija in 1930. They created black and white paintings said to have strong supernatural qualities. The Batuan village is close to Celuk Village in Gianyar.
The typical paintings of Batuan are generally very expressive because of their quality. Usually, they involve green and maroon colors with a dark background.
Originally themes of the paintings include animal monsters, displays of daily life, and witches being attacked by police. The general atmosphere of Batuan Village painting is gloom and darkness. Materials used were made from vegetables, minerals, and other plant sources, as well as soot, white bone, and stone.
When western artists visited Bali in 1920, new canvases and more modern art styles were introduced. However, Batuan Village wasn’t influenced in the same way by the West and maintained their traditional style.
Tenganan Village is one of the oldest Balinese Traditional Villages located in Karangasem Regency (the eastern part of Bali). It has a unique local community life and is a good example of the Bali Ancient Villages. This small village consists of three Banjars (groups of the local community): Banjar Kauh, Banjar Tengah, and Banjar Pande. The village also consists of three complexes: one for residents, one for plantations, and one other for rice fields. All the traditions of this village are in harmony with the Tri Hita Karana concept (meaning harmony between God, Humans, and Environment).
In this village, you’ll experience the art of weaving fabric, their distinctive ritual systems, and the strict rules they employ about who can live in the village (only those who are born there).