Bali, Monkey Temples and Dance

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In Bali the romance of the  monkey dance called Kecak:  Kecak is a form of Balinese dance and music drama that originated in the 1930s  in Bali and is performed primarily by men, although a few women’s kecak groups exist. Also known as the Ramayana Monkey Chant, the piece, performed by a circle of 150 or more performers wearing checked cloth around their waists, percussively chanting “cak” and throwing up their arms, depicts a battle from the Ramayana where the monkey-like Vanara helped Prince Rama fight the evil King Ravana. It is an amazing thing to see.

I visited the monkey temples and saw the intricate folk art of Ubud, green rice fields in Bali which were the most illuminating green I had ever seen, and the shadow players dancing  to the rhythm of magical gongs. Shadow puppet theater is called Wayang kulit in Indonesia and it is particularly popular in Java and Bali. The term, derived from the word wayang, literally means shadow or imagination in Javanese and also connotes “spirit.” Kulit means skin, as the material of the puppet is the thin perforated leather sheets made from buffalo skin..

From Bali to Rangoon, then called Burma, with my eye and body pointed toward India.

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