Falling Into a Trance at a Kecak Dance in Ubud, Bali
A low chant rings in the distance. “CHEE hee oh ee CHEE hee oh ee…” Dozens of men emerge onto the stage and form a circle, their hands waving wildly. The chant breaks into monkey-like chatter. “Chak chak chak chakkity chak chak chak CHAK.” Their bodies begin to sway; their heads bob to the beat. The echo rings from the temple, at once frightening and awe-inspiring. This is the Kecak Fire and Trance Dance, performed by the Taman Kaja Community in Ubud every Wednesday and Saturday. The chant and dance are based on ancient Balinese rituals designed to rid society of evil spirits. Afterward, whether your inner demons have been removed is debatable, but the haunting rhythms of kecak are unforgettable.