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From the point of view of social structure, Indonesian dances have generally undergone the same course of development. In the period of Primitive Society dances in the whole of Indonesia were simple in form, sacred or holy and magic in nature.

In the period of Feudal Society there were two groups of dances, the one developing in the royal courts and among the nobility being feudal in nature, and the one developing among the common people, being simple in form. Also during the first part of the feudal period, the Hindu- Indonesian period, the upper class attached great importance to the spiritual life, so their dances were religious and magic in nature.

Most Sulawesi dances in the period of Feudal Society were religious in nature and closely linked with the traditional ceremonies for the people. Claire Holt, who in 1938 carried out a reseach into the dances in South and Central Sulawesi, succeeded in recording her investigations in a book with a considerable number of illustrations, entitled Dance Quest in Celebes. This book gives a clear description of the development of dancing in South and Central Sulawesi up to 1938, or the last part of the period of Feudal Society.

The dances in Sulawesi can be classified into three styles of dancing: the South Sulawesi style, the Central Sulawesi style and the North Sulawesi style. But as the lives of the greater part of the Sulawesi people centre around South Sulawesi and Central Sulawesi


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