Friday, May 25, 2007

Dancing on fire

Ubud is the cultural capital of Bali, so there are traditional dance performances almost every night. The dancers have elaborate costumes and move in a slightly crouched stance; the motions, especially the turning of the wrist and the pinching together of fingertips, are very fluid and specific.

Then a guy came out and built a big fire with a lot of help from his bottle of kerosene.

A male dancer on a stylized wooden horse came out and danced barefoot around the embers. Then he danced through the embers ... kicking them toward the audience so energetically that the woman in front of me curled up on her chair to get her feet off the floor.

The dancer had very black feet afterward.

Some say he's protected from the embers by a trance state. Others say it's a low-energy fire and he's merely shuffling through it, not actually stepping on the coals. I say I'm not volunteering anytime soon -- not without asbestos booties.


mr_john said...

kopisusu2 said...

Mr. Wikipedia strikes again! Although I suppose you'd have to arm-wrestle Chad for that title ...