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I Wayan Limbak  

by on Wednesday, 7 May 2008No Comment | 1,186 views

Wayan Limbak, a late Balinese dancer which the popularity of his legacy has surpassed his own name, was a Baris (warrior dance) dancer who, along with Walter Spies, created the island’s famous monkey dance or Kecak. Kecak dance which is usually contracted into Cak is a contemporary Balinese dance, a secular dance that its origin can be traced to the sacred Sanghyang dance.


This dance was first created by Wayan Limbak in Bedulu village, Gianyar regency, at the request of Walter Spies. Wayan Limbak was commissioned to devise a new kind of dramatic performance which is based on Ramayana epic, accompanied solely by a chorus like that found in sacred Sanghyang Dedari performance.

The dance, which features a chorus of bare-chested men , each making distinctive ‘chek, chek, chek’ sound that blend into a complex interlocking rhythmic pattern usually enacts episodes from the great epic Ramayana. Wayan Limbak usually danced as Kumbhakarna, a giant who fought hundreds of monkey soldiers single handedly. Limbak was well-known to dance bare-chested, without any costumes like modern kecak but still could captivate the audiences with strong facial expression and dynamic movements.

Wayan Limbak helped popularize Kecak and shape Bali’s image as an exotic cultural paradise by taking his dance troupe to several international festivals. And nowadays Kecak has become a legacy that out-brillianced its brilliant creator.

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