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Brown Boys and Rice QueensSpellbinding Performance in the Asias$
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Eng-Beng Lim

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814760895

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814760895.001.0001

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A Colonial Dyad in Balinese Performance

A Colonial Dyad in Balinese Performance

(p.41) 1 A Colonial Dyad in Balinese Performance
Brown Boys and Rice Queens

Eng-Beng Lim

NYU Press

This chapter discusses the Balinese kecak as a prime example of the tropic spell. Kecak is often performed with traditions of ritual possession (Sanghyang) from which it is derived in nightly tourist shows at Ubud, Bali, to conjure an “ancient tribal hypnosis.” Its adapted, current choreography may be understood through the classic white man/native boy dyad put in place by the German expatriate artist Walter Spies. He employed a host of nameless boys who served as his houseboys, models, lovers, and inspiration during the interwar years of the twentieth century, when Spies and a queer enclave of Western transplants promulgated in Bali.

Keywords:   kecak, ancient tribal hypnosis, Walter Spies, interwar years, Sanghyang

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