Watching this IRL has been one of my bucket lists. As of now, Youtube should suffice.
Kecak dance is telling a story of Ramayana ballad — a story about a prince (Lord Rama) with his wife, Sita (in Indonesia, we named her “Shinta”) and their battle against evil force: Ravana.
The story opens with kecak dancers singing and dancing when Sita and Rama entered. Soon, a golden deer entered (with jingling and twinkling sounds.) Unbeknownst to them, the golden deer is actually Ravana’s lackey, being sent to lure Rama and Lakshmana away from Sita so Ravana can kidnap Sita.
Lakshmana joined Rama and Sita, then both Rama and Lakshmana chased the golden deer — but before that, they created a holy circle to protect Sita so no harm can come upon her.
Enter Ravana (you can hear the gasp from the audience.) Ravana tried to pull Sita, but the circle protecting Sita (the kecak dancers wave their hands and standing up — symbolizing protection.) Ravana, defeated, decided to withdraw. Sita was safe, for a moment.
Enter a rekshi, an old holy man, asking for Sita’s help. Sita, sweet soul she is, wanted to help the holy man so she opened up the circle, only to find out the rekshi actually Ravana in disguise.
Jatayu, a garuda (giant bird) swooped down, realizing Sita is in danger. Jatayu looked around and tried to attack Ravana to no avail. Jatayu got defeated.
Rama and Lakshmana enter the scene, clearly distraught with Sita gone missing. Then they received a help: Hanuman. The all-powerful white monkey.
Hanuman, dude, this guy is like the OG. The superhero. Iron Man who WE ARE TALKING ABOUT OUR BOI LORD HANUMAN HERE. You can hear the literal gasps from the audience when Hanuman enters the scene — twice. Hanuman tends to move freely too, even sitting with the audience and taking selfies.
Hanuman, hell-bent on rescuing Sita with Rama and Lakshmana, decided to take a drastic approach: He burns down Ravana’s kingdom (there is a special dance for this: Hanuman Obong. Obong means burned/burning/burns/lighted on fire.)
The mission went successfully. Rama, Lakshmana, and Hanuman managed to defeat Ravana and bring back Sita.
Ramayana story is a full Hindu epic from India — and thanks to the trading activities between Indonesia and India at the beginning of civilizations, Indonesia is really familiar with Hindu stories and epics 😄