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  Sang Hyang

Another dance genre with ancient roots is the set of dances known as Sang Hyang, of which there are nearly two dozen varieties, most of them found only in remote northern and eastern mountain villages.

All of these dances involve putting one or more dancers into 'trance' to receive possesing divinities by means of incense, chanting and prayers. Then inhabited by gods or animal spirits, the performers interact with the audience and occasionally with each other, dancing, mimicking animal movements, and in some of localities speaking as oracles.

The performance invariably involves improvisation by the visiting spirits, which takes place along very definite pre-established lines. These possession differ greatly from one another in kind and content, according to locality and the particular type of Sang Hyang.

They range from celestial nymphs in Sang Hyang Dedari to the horse-spirits of Sang Hyang Jaran, the pig-spirits of Sang Hyang Celeng, and the serpent-spirits of Sang Hyang Lelipi.

In all varieties of Sang Hyang there is an element of ritual purification, even of exorcism. The best known of these dances is Sang Hyang Dedari.

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