Balinese Dancers

by Beth Whitman (October 2nd, 2006)

Balinese dancers gathered at a temple last week to help revive the tourism industry on this small island. The local government arranged for the performance which included approximately 5,000 dancers, the largest gathering of the Kecak performers ever held.

Nightclub bombings near Kuta Beach in 2002 killed 202 people, mainly young tourists and last October bombings at restaurants killed an additional 20 people. The bombings were carried out by Islamic militants and have dramatically curbed the number of tourists now traveling to this beautiful region. This evening of dance was schedule to help revive the spiritual, cultural and economic aspects of Balinese life.

The Kecak dance is considered the most dramatic of Bali’s traditional dances and traces the Hindu epic Ramayana in which monkeys help Prince Rama fight the evil Ravana. The dance includes a trance-like chanting of the word “cak”.

Though Bali has been on the U.S. State Department’s list of travel warnings since the Bali bombings, this tiny island is still quite safe for women travelers. I’ve spent a number of weeks there myself and know many women who have been back since the bombings. These women echo the same feelings – travel there to help support this struggling region. With tourism down, the deals are abundant and you can have the beach to yourself!

Happy Travels!

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