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Trance Dance in Bali  

by on Friday, 16 May 2008One Comment | 3,426 views

People who know little about Bali, at the least know that there are dances in which men in a state of trance attack themselves with their krisses, that there are other dances in which little girls who are put into a state of trance by incense smoke and singing, perform feats of acrobatics of which they would not be capable in a normal condition. Of all the forms of Balinese dance, the dances that involve trance or possession in them are the most fascinating to the visitors.

Kris Dance

Trance states are to most people much more interesting than the dance states, and they have hitherto absorbed a perhaps unfair amount of attention in books and films of Bali. The subject of trance consciousness is of extreme interest and Bali undoubtedly provides almost unlimited material for such a study.

However, there is an interesting phenomenon in the popularity of the trance dance. in Barong and Rangda dance, there are a group of men become possessed and called by the visitors ‘kris-dancer’, because in the frenzy of possession they each man attack himself with his kris, and leaps about in extravagant way which to the visitors suggest dancing. But Balinese would never dream of describing their violent contortions as dancing; they use to characterize it one of the many words which imply that a god or demon has entered into a human being.

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