TRANCE AND DANCE IN BALI

Photography by Gregory Bateson and Jane Belo Edited by Josef Bohmer Music arranged by Colin McPhee Written & narrated by Margaret Mead

Character Formation in Different Cultures: A Series Produced by Gregory Bateson & Margaret Mead With assistance from Committee for Research in Dementia Precox Supported through the 33rd degree Scottish Rite, North Masonic Jurisdiction, Cambridge University, The American Museum of Natural History, Department of Child Study, Vassar College. Records a performance of the Balinese ceremonial kris (dagger) dance-drama, which depicts the neverending struggle between witch (death-dealing) and dragon (life-protecting), as it was given in the village of Pagoetan in the late 1930s. The dancers experience violent trance seizures, turn their krises against their breasts without injury, and are restored to consciousness with incense and holy water. Narrated by Margaret Mead against a background of Balinese music. From the Character Formation in Different Cultures series. Produced by Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead. 1952 (anthropology) Recommended reading from C2O collection: Spies, Walter & de Zoete, Beryl (2002 [1938]). Dance & Drama in Bali. Singapore: Periplus. [Call No.: 791.319923 SPI Dan]

Data Skrip film Koleksi Perpustakaan C 2 O Jl. Dr. Cipto 20 Surabaya 60264 INDONESIA e-mail: info@c2o-library.net web: http://c2o-library.net  

   

1  

 

TIME Screenshot Notes TEXT Character Formation in Different Cultures: A Series Produced by Gregory Bateson & Margaret Mead With assistance from Committee for Research in Dementia Precox Supported through the 33rd degree Scottish Rite. and turn their krisses violently against themselves. without injuring themselves. Vassar College. 2       Trance and Dance in Bali Photography by Gregory Bateson and Jane Belo Edited by Josef Bohmer Music arranged by Colin McPhee Written & narrated by Margaret Mead     . which has many versions. who fails to kill her. In this play. revived by the dragon into a somnambulistic state. to the music of an orchestra. and is transformed into a dragon. the witch. and the emissary of the king. TRANCE AND DANCE IN BALI Photography by Gregory Bateson and Jane Belo Edited by Josef Bohmer Music arranged by Colin McPhee Written & narrated by Margaret Mead TEXT Trance occurs in Bali in many different forms. angered by the king’s refusal to marry her daughter. The American Museum of Natural History. supernatural form. The followers of the dragon are thrown into a deep trance by the witch. There is a struggle between the witch in a masked. Cambridge University. Department of Child Study. The villagers wander the road trying to escape the plague. The play begins outside the temple. was given this way in the village of Pagoetan in 1937-1939. the conflict between the witch and the dragon. North Masonic Jurisdiction. The performance ends with ceremonies for bringing the actors out of trance. One form of the Kris Dance combines this religious practice with a Balinese dramatic theme. One of the most spectacular is the Kris Dance in which men and women turn their krisses against their breasts. This story. sends forth her disciples to spread plague.

pendulous breasts. and returned dead to its mourning relatives. played by a man. gives birth to a child. while the witches lurk around to steal the newborn child. Kneeling in front of her. In revenge for the slight to her daughter she’s now training her little novices to spread pestilence and death. tossed in the air. They go off.net web: http://c2o-library. they answer her instructions on how to spread plague. where the pregnant woman. which is stolen by the witch-child. Dr. 04:36 The villagers mourn for the dead child. Data Skrip film Koleksi Perpustakaan C 2 O Jl. putting on a theatrical display of grief. is her daughter. a doll. and the next scene shows a pregnant woman among a group of people who’ve fled their plague-stricken village to wander the road. but without the mask that’ll transform her into a supernatural figure. 04:07 This is the birth scene.net       3     . Beside her. who’s been rejected by the king of the country. 02:38 This is the witch in all her supernatural paraphernalia—hairy legs. Cipto 20 Surabaya 60264 INDONESIA e-mail: info@c2o-library. long fingernails.02:13 The little disciples of the witch dance and prepare to receive the witch’s instructions.

and tease the mortals. a demeaning gesture. the witch dances alone.The witches—witch-child and witch—lurk about. Again the witch dances alone. 05:13 In just a minute now you’ll see the witch in her supernatural form at the gate of the temple. She wears over her face a white cloth—the cloths in which the mother carries her baby. and representing fear itself. The witch child is caught and held by the hair. to whom they’re not yet quite visible. These are the frightening witches into which the beautiful little girls of the bale have been transformed. attacked by the emissary of the king who failed to conquer her. 04:55 As they become visible. the mortals chase the witches. The figures is both frightening. And now coming down the temple steps. 4       Trance and Dance in Bali Photography by Gregory Bateson and Jane Belo Edited by Josef Bohmer Music arranged by Colin McPhee Written & narrated by Margaret Mead     .

down again when she looks. back. Dr. laughs. he represents life. back. falling to the ground at the glance of the witch. and attack her. while another pair attack the witch. arrived to confront her. and then turns away. They have a long ordered talk in ancient. As she represents death. And she dances and laughs. runs away. and lie in a deep trance. ready for the attack. And two more come up. Normal scene: the witch dances again. but as she turns. She doesn’t resist—she’s as limp as as a rag doll. fall down. This is slow motion: followers of the dragons advance. and then two by two. They rush to attack. up again when she turns her back. These are the dragon’s followers. but overcome by her power. Members of the trance dance come and arrange them on the ground.net       5     . but falling down again before her glance. they fall.net web: http://c2o-library. their krisses raised in the air. Data Skrip film Koleksi Perpustakaan C 2 O Jl. while she holds him by his beard. indifferent. her glance forces them back. ecclesiastical Javanese. and scolds him. She flips through their ranks. and as they’re back in trance. up they get again. they run up. Cipto 20 Surabaya 60264 INDONESIA e-mail: info@c2o-library.And here’s the dragon. on the ground.

and here in slow motion you see the women. Revived. not out of trance. The dance in slow motion. This one is struggling on the kris. followed by his priest. walking between the rows. they suddenly go into a trance. trying to stick their krisses against their breast. They do not attack the witch. they go off stage. and been carried away. also in a balian formation. and with loosened her. But as a sign is given by one of their number.They lie arranged in two rows in deep trance. And the dragon comes back to revive them. In the background you see the men also in trance. 6       Trance and Dance in Bali Photography by Gregory Bateson and Jane Belo Edited by Josef Bohmer Music arranged by Colin McPhee Written & narrated by Margaret Mead     . but in a somnambulistic stage in which they come back in. dancing. 10:33 Here comes the women. who sprinkles the holy water over them. The witch meanwhile has fallen into a deep trance. falling forward. whole bodies twitching.

If anyone gets hurt.The fumes of the incense that is being carried among them to come blend with their loosened hair. Now at normal pace. The priest of the dragon moves among them. There are frequent periods like this of turning and waiting. Data Skrip film Koleksi Perpustakaan C 2 O Jl. But when others begin to turn their krisses against themselves. sprinkling them with the holy water. they say the trance is not real.net       7     . and unlike the women.net web: http://c2o-library. This old woman has said that she’ll not go in trance. See how that kris is bent? No one gets hurt. bending their krisses against themselves. often fall into the ground. If anyone becomes too violent they are disarmed. then someone gives a violent scream and they again turn their krisses on themselves. Cipto 20 Surabaya 60264 INDONESIA e-mail: info@c2o-library. Dr. you see the man. she joins them.

A male trancer is being carried off to the temple. or convulsive state of unconsciousness and been carried into the temple courtyard. the trancers have fallen into a rigid. and the dragon holds him by the hair to come. as one by one. Another trancer is being carried into the temple court. 8       Trance and Dance in Bali Photography by Gregory Bateson and Jane Belo Edited by Josef Bohmer Music arranged by Colin McPhee Written & narrated by Margaret Mead     . 14:35 TEXT The theatrical part of the performance is over. Another falls to the ground in a particularly violent state. limp. And another… In slow motion again you see the locals contorted in seeming agony on the face of his trance. in a stiff epileptic state. where they will be brought out of trance. A third puts his head into the dragon’s mouth. Another has been disarmed.

Dr. 15:44 This one is still in deep trance and children with anxious faces watch from the background. Data Skrip film Koleksi Perpustakaan C 2 O Jl.net web: http://c2o-library.net       9     . They pass the holy water on their chest. Here a group of boys—trancers lying along the wall in deep shadow—is given incense and the holy water. Cipto 20 Surabaya 60264 INDONESIA e-mail: info@c2o-library. Another woman is being brought to herself by having her hair done up. lying now in deep trance.Inside the temple the people arrange the trancers in group to be brought out of trance. 15:27 This is the old woman who said she wouldn’t go in trance today.

17:09 And finally the priest brings special offerings to the spirit that possesses her. At last. unwilling to come back to herself.16:09 The trancers bury their faces in the fumes of the incense and slowly come out of trance. A dog comes and eats the offerings being presented. remembering her dances. The priest made the offerings of flowers and rice on the ground. to persuade it to leave her body. while she continues to dance. 10       Trance and Dance in Bali Photography by Gregory Bateson and Jane Belo Edited by Josef Bohmer Music arranged by Colin McPhee Written & narrated by Margaret Mead     . Here’s the old woman again. she holds out her hand to the holy water as a sign that she’s willing to come out of trance.

Dr.net web: http://c2o-library.The old woman rises. still half-dazed. and has been lying in deep cataleptic trance. A chicken is brought. and walks over to where the closing ceremony is being held. by the priest of the dragon. The white-haired old man on his right plays the front leg of the dragon. Cipto 20 Surabaya 60264 INDONESIA e-mail: info@c2o-library. where the dragon man behind the mask. 20:03 This black-haired man is the man who plays the witch. the principal actors in the play. come for a final ritual offering before the ceremony is ended.net       11     . The chicken is offered. blessed for the offering. Data Skrip film Koleksi Perpustakaan C 2 O Jl.

He breathes in the incense. The ritual is finished. not yet quite himself. Here we see the old man just coming out of trance. and sprinkles the old man who plays the front leg of the dragon. TEXT THE END Publications: BALINESE CHARACTER By Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead GROWTH AND CULTURE By Margaret Mead and Francis Macgregor HOUSE IN BALI by Colin McPhe BARONG AND RANGDA by Jane Belo 12       Trance and Dance in Bali Photography by Gregory Bateson and Jane Belo Edited by Josef Bohmer Music arranged by Colin McPhee Written & narrated by Margaret Mead     . not yet quite out of trance.He sits among the offerings. takes the holy water. The play is over but it will be given again and again as the Balinese reenact the struggle between fear and death and life-protecting in ritual.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful