Esplanade Presents


Talk: Unveiling the Fusion of Dance and Religion in Balinese Rituals

Dr Irving Chan Johnson (Singapore)

14 Apr 2024, Sun, 1pm


(Intermission: None)

Esplanade Recital Studio

This event is over.


In this talk led by Dr Irving Chan Johnson, learn about how dance and religion are intrinsic components of Balinese temple ceremonies. Gain an understanding of how temples are sites of artistic and theatrical activity, with case studies from Balinese genres such as Calon arang and Wayang Wong.


While the performing arts of Bali, Indonesia are diverse and complex, almost every form of music, dance and drama originates from a ritual function. The purpose of these dances is to appease the deities and ancestral spirits of Bali, as well as to express the values that Balinese philosophy holds high, such as balance and harmony. All Balinese performers thus strive to achieve taksu (spiritual charisma), in which the artist can enrapture both the divine and human audience.

  • Patrons who have registered will have priority entry to the venue.
  • Patrons who have registered must arrive 5 mins before the start of the event to guarantee your admission.
  • Patrons who have registered but are not at the venue 5 mins before the start will have their seats released to walk-in patrons on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Limited seats are available at the door.
  • Seating will be assigned by Esplanade’s ushers.
Admission Age:
10 and above.
Language: English
Things to Note:
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Artist Information

Dr Irving Chan Johnson

Growing up listening to stories of corpse chin oil, violent deaths and magic from his Kelantanese Thai mother and grandfather, Dr Irving Chan Johnson has had a long-standing interest in Southeast Asia, particularly in the areas of art, traditional performance and borderland identities and religion. Irving graduated with a PhD in Social Anthropology from Harvard University in 2004, where he worked on issues of marginality, borders, movements and history in Kelantan's northern frontier. He has studied Balinese masked dance (topeng) and classical Thai dance. Irving is also an accomplished Thai mural painter and has conducted workshops on Thai visual art in Singapore and abroad. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, where he teaches art and anthropology, and specialised classes in Thai traditional art, traditional dance in Southeast Asia and Balinese theatre. 

Date & Time

14 Apr 2024, Sun


Esplanade Recital Studio

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