This article examines the nature of interreligious relations between Protestants of the Bali Church and Hindus as enacted through dramatic forms of Balinese music and dance. Particular attention is paid to the influence of mass tourism as a contributing factor in this process. Since the early twentieth century these arts have formed a central component of a pan-Balinese identity discourse known as" kebalian." The first Balinese converted to Christianity during the 1930s and were subsequently excommunicated from their ancestral villages for refusing to participate in local customary practices (including the ritualistic use of gamelan music). For this reason, Balinese Christians have historically been regarded as “traitors” with no claim to kebalian. Since the 1970s, however, the Bali Church has employed local music and dance in a variety of church-based contexts as one means to “contextualize” congregational life. The adoption of these and other forms of local culture (ex. language, clothing) have reconfigured and challenged the existing parameters of a generally Hindu-centric kebalian. This has led to the formation of a religion(agama)/culture(budaya) dichotomy, which is often used as the intellectual underpinning for the arts as a tool of identity construction. The article concludes with an analysis of the contextualized musical drama, Tarian Perdamaian, to illustrate the practical complications of this dichotomy and suggests the theatrically situated “interreligious gaze” as a lens through which to better understand the parameters of twenty-first century interreligious relations in Bali.
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Wiebe, Dustin D.
"Tarian Perdamaian: Enacting Alternative Hindu/Christian Identity Discourses Through "Secular" Balinese Performing Arts,"
Yale Journal of Music & Religion:
1, Article 7.
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