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Sang Hyang
Dedari Dance

The Sang Hyang Dedari dance usually involves teenage or young dancers because of their purity: a virgin girl is considered holy. When it is performed, the dancers are in a state of trance, allowing them to make wonderful movements.

Their state of trance begins before the dance starts. The ceremony begins in temple areas, with a procession marching to the place where the event will take place.

The dancers are set on the ground between the female and male choirs. They make free movements in a dreamy version of the Legong dance. Even though their eyes are closed during the entire performance, they can make perfectly synchronised movements.

When the choirs stop chanting, the entranced girls jump to the ground. A holy priest, known locally as 'pemangku', then brings them out of the trance by saying a prayer and blessing them with the holy water. When they emerge from the trance, they are weak and exhausted and unaware of having danced on stage.

The Sang Hyang Dedari dance has been developed from the essential religious function of maintaining good health and well being of the villagers. The dance is usually performed to drive out evil spirits that come to Earth and disturb the harmony of the human race in the form of sickness or death.

The dance is performed when divine spirits temporarily descend on villages, revealing themselves through the entranced dancers. Sang Hyang is the name of the divine spirit, meaning holiness, while Dedari (meaning 'angels') describes the trance ceremony.

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