Saturday, February 6, 2010
Kecak Dance, Bali
In Bali, life circles around religion, art and traditional dance. There are lots of well known Balinese traditional dance like the barong, legong and pendet to name a few but the kecak dance is definitely a dance you must see when visiting Bali. The kecak dance is like no other, the deep chant chorus "chak chak chak" of sometimes up to 150 bare chested men waving their hands and swaying their bodies definitely makes the kecak dance one of the most dramatic dance. It tells the story of the Hindu epic Ramayana where Prince Rama rescues Princess Sita from the evil King Ravana by the help of monkey-like Vanara. This particular dance does not require the traditional gamelan instrument, it is accompanied by voices of chants and singing which really does give goose-bumps and an experience to tell your family and friends.
There are lots of places in Bali where you can see the Kecak Dance, hotels and local theaters are the common places. However, if you want to watch the kecak dance with an amazing natural background view of the Balinese sunset, Uluwatu is the place to go.
It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to go to Uluwatu so I suggest to rent a car and preferably with a driver. Car rentals in Bali are considerably cheap and the drivers are very honest and friendly. Most drivers in Bali speaks English and some even speaks Japanese.
If you decide to watch the Kecak dance in Uluwatu, keep in mind that it starts just before the sun sets fully so expect to take photos in low light condition. Unfortunately, taking a moving object in low light conditions is not easy at all. For sure, you will be playing around with your exposure settings but here are the rules of exposures; with long exposures it will permit more lights into the camera but any moving object will come out blurry whereas with short exposures it will freeze any motion of your subject but it will be a dark photo. So what do you do? High ISO and wide aperture to cut exposure time for hand held shot.
This photo was taken with sufficient light, so I did not really have to worry about low light settings but I mentioned this tip because in situations like these you want to take home a great photo to add up your travel album. If it was a little bit more darker when I shot this I think I would have set it to ISO 1600, f/2.8 and 1/40sec. I edited this photo with Adobe Photoshop CS4 to bring out the dramatic effects but other photo editing software more or less can do the same trick.