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Dances with spiders; crisis, celebrity and celebration in Southern Italy.


Dances with spiders; crisis, celebrity and celebration in Southern Italy.

Ludtke, Karen.

Berghahn Books


254 pages



Epistemologies of healing; v.4


Anthropologist Ludtke looks at the historical and modern uses of the pizzica, the dance associated in the Salentene peninsula of Italy with the tarantula. She gives the background of the religious folk belief that the only way to survive a tarantula bite is to dance continuously. In a blend of subjective commentary and scholarly reportage, Ludtke traces the evolution of the pizzica from a local custom to a popular form of entertainment exported internationally. She also considers the use of the music in its traditional healing purpose. There are no longer tarantulas in Salento but many contemporary dancers report feelings of well-being as they participate. This is an intriguing study of an example of the trend to adapt traditional customs and beliefs to modern needs.

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Publication:Reference & Research Book News
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2009
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