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Performance of Identity: The Pelegongan Andir of Tista, Bali

From: Asian Theatre Journal
Volume 23, Number 2, Fall 2006
pp. 356-373 | 10.1353/atj.2006.0031


The pelegongan andir dance ritual of possession has been performed by a small community (Banjar Carik) in the village of Tista, Bali, in Indonesia since about the 1930s. The community prizes this exorcistic practice above all other ceremonial events, since its enactment fulfills a crucial role in determining communal welfare. At the same time, the dance symbolically embodies local identity in the person of the spiritually possessed dancer. This paper presents a historical and ethnographic discussion of its performance during 1995–2001 and posits that the community's religious practice may ultimately contest national policies on dance and circumvent the government's efforts to establish a pan-Indonesian identity.

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