Kecak Dance World Record

Kecak Dance is a Balinese group dance also known as the Ramayana Monkey Chant. It is performed wearing a checked cloth around the waist while chanting “cak” and moving hands and arms and is derived from a battle in the Ramayana, an ancient Indian epic poem which narrates the struggle of the divine prince Rama to rescue his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana. The chant is performed in honor of the monkey god Hanuman and has roots in a trance-inducing exorcism dance. Traditionally only performed by men, women began participating in 2006. On February 26th our group was lucky to witness the greatest kecak dance of all time. For the closing ceremony of the Berawa Beach Art Festival 2018, a world record 5,555 high school students performed a kecak dance at the Loloan Yeh Poh in Tibubeneng. The number five is very special in the Hindu religion and so 5555 was particularly important for the ritual. We arrived early in the afternoon to a beautiful sandy beach and walked to the staging area. Thousands of students were arriving by bus, car, scooter and even in the beds of trucks. Schools from around Bali practiced for several months for this one performance. We spent much of the afternoon visiting and photographing the participants as they prepared for the dance by changing into their traditional checked sarongs and painting a white cross on their chests. Many also added other symbols on their bodies. It was amazing how nice and patient the students were as they waited for the signal to begin. As the sun began to set, we walked down the beach following the students to the area designated for the dance. We were able to walk around in the middle of the beach as waves of students entered to applause as each school was recognized. Finally, it was time for the show and the students chanted and waved and danced and clapped to a mesmerizing rhythm. At the end an official from the Indonesian Museum of Records (MURI) officially announced the world record to cheers from the thousands of spectators. We then walked back to our cars but waited over an hour as all of the students were leaving at the same time. After a very late dinner in Ubud, we made it back to the hotel after midnight . Overall, a truly historic evening!