Getanzte Geschichte. Tanz, Religion und Geschichte auf Java
(Veröffentlichungen zum Archiv für Völkerkunde 11)
Wien: Lit Verlag 2006
225 pp., Euro 24.90; ISBN 3-8258-8648-4
Keywords: cultural memory, dance and history, history as dance, religion, godkings, memory and history

History in dance. Dance, religion, and history in Java
The past is mediated differently in different cultures. Javan dances function as nonverbal transmitters of the past; they are a "cultural reservoir" out of which the past is preserved, modified, and perpetuated. The author first deals with history as interaction between the past and the present, then cultural exchange in Southeast Asia, stressing connections and interdependencies e.g., there are indigenous southeast Asian elements despite Buddhist and Islamic influences (leading to a religion called kejawen/kebatinan). Two such elements are focused on by the author the idea of the godking (devaraja) and the role of dance as insignia of power, which he attempts to see and describe from "within" (also based on personal experience from childhood). Further chapters discuss the special role of dance in Java and the influence of history on the arts.