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Sang Hyang Dedari (Trance Dance)

Written By love on Wednesday | 08:44

This dance is normally performed to entertain the gods and the goddesses to appease
them or to ask for their blessings. A bad harvest or an outburst of an illness may warrant
such a dance. The preparation for this dance may take months, as prepubescent girls who
have never danced are trained to relax their mind to be able to get into a trance state. Day
after day they visit the priest at the local temple to receive their lessons. When the priest
concludes that they are ready, and the time is right, the dance will be performed in the
court of the temple.
Dressed in elaborate attire and immersed in the smoke of burning
incense, the two young girls slowly dance as the accompanying chant of the village
women gradually relax them to get into trance. The gods and the goddesses will enter
their bodies as they enter trance, and they will dance with movements that they have not
mastered in their normal state. They may act and sound like a horse or a monkey; at
times, they end up dancing while balancing their back on a piece of bamboo supported by
two men on both ends. When they collapse, the village women will chant to ask the gods
and the goddesses to peacefully leave the bodies of the young girls. If they refuse,
dancing will continue until they agree, at which point the girls will simply collapse
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