AN INTIMATE resort in the uplands of Bali that has garnered a reputation for its deep artistic roots doesn’t limit itself to the mesmerizing sculptures, statues, and paintings collected over the founder’s lifetime.

One of its biggest contributions to the local art scene is in the performing arts with its Kecak extravaganza, a traditional and captivating Balinese dance and drama, that is a bucket-list experience for many who visit the island.

Tanah Gajah, a Resort by Hadiprana, recently announced the addition of a third performance night to the roster. Every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday a troupe of 60-70 bare-chested men descend on the property’s open air amphitheater to deliver the epic of Ramayana. There is love and war, struggle and success, good and evil, human royalty along with a monkey king. Performers chant and dance in a hypnotic-like state in concentric rings around an open flame beneath the stars. The rhythm comes from the monkey chorus and their heady chants.

Kecak originated in Bali close to a century ago in the 1930s and has its roots in Sanghyang, an ancient trance-like dance that also developed on the island.

The evening begins at 7pm as guests are welcomed with a chilled lemongrass drink and given a frangipani flower by Balinese women dressed in traditional Kebaya attire. They then take a seat in front of one of the resort’s most impressive structures, a Candi Bentar, a Balinese-style split gateway of carved elephants. Given the design of the resort’s amphitheater the audience has an abundance of space while still feeling they are part of an intimate gathering.

Bathed in a torch-lit glow guests watch the 30 minute-long Balinese Kecak and fire dance performance. There is then an opportunity for guests to take photos with the performers before a Royal Rijsttafel dinner experience, a family-style three course menu, at The Tempayan restaurant. Private performances are also available upon request.

The Kecak performance will be held three times a week until December 31st, 2023, before dropping back down to Tuesday and Friday performances only in 2024. Rates start at IDR785,000++ per person inclusive of dinner, with children aged 6-11 years old half price and kids under 6 free. Reservations must be made in advance. [sources/photo special]