Dances With Spiders: Crisis and Celebrity in a South Italian Healing Cult

Dances With Spiders: Crisis and Celebrity in a South Italian Healing Cult

by Karen Ludtke
ISBN-10:
1845454456
ISBN-13:
9781845454456
Pub. Date:
10/10/2008
Publisher:
Berghahn Books, Incorporated

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Overview

Dances With Spiders: Crisis and Celebrity in a South Italian Healing Cult

For centuries, the rite of the tarantula was the only cure for those 'bitten' or 'possessed' by the mythic Apulian spider. Its victims had to dance to the local tarantella or 'pizzica' for days on end. Today, the pizzica has returned to the limelight, bringing to the forefront issues of performance, gender, identity and well-being. This book explores how and why the pizzica has boomed in the Salento and elsewhere and asks whether this current popu- larity has anything to do with the historic ritual of tarantism or with the intention of recovering well-being. While personal stories and experiences may confirm the latter, a vital shift has appeared in the Salento: from the confrontation of life crises to the vibrant promotion and celebration of a local sense of identity and celebrity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781845454456
Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/10/2008
Series: EoH
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgements

Preface

Introduction: Tarantula Territory

  • Salentine Tarantulas: Spider Dances and Discourses
  • Tracking Down the Spider: Research Techniques and Intentions
  • Crisis, Celebrity and Celebration: Contextualizing Salentine Tarantulas
  • Preview: Summarizing this Book

PART I: PAST AND PRESENT SPIDER WEBS

Chapter 1. Seeking St Paul: Historical and Contemporary Enactments

  • Dances at Galatina: a Crossroads of Old and New Tarantati
  • Dances on Screen: Invention versus Intention
  • Maria's 1959 Domestic Ritual: a Historical Performance
  • Ada's 2001 Dance on TV: a Contemporary Performance

Chapter 2. Webs through Time: Origins and History of Tarantism

  • Possible Origins: Searching for Tarantism's Roots
  • Historical Interpretations: Explaining the Tarantula's Cult
  • De Martino's View: a Key Point of Reference
  • Recent Studies: Continuing the Quest for Answers

PART II: THE SPIDER'S CULT TODAY

Chapter 3. Curing Myths and Fictive Cures: Views of Believers and Sceptics

  • Tarantism as Cure: Debates in Favour of the Tarantula
  • St Paul's Grotto: a Contested Site
  • Spider Poisoning: a Contested Case
  • Tarantism as Fiction: Debates Against the Tarantula

Chapter 4. Ads and Antidotes: Celebrity versus Conservation Taranta-muffin, Techno-pizzica, Tarantavirus: Hybridizing the Pizzica

  • The Festival of San Rocco: Revitalizing and Commercializing Traditions
  • La Notte della Taranta: a Music and Media Spectacle
  • La Sagra dei Curli: a Community Festival

Chapter 5. Sensing Identities and Well-being: Personal Motivations and Experiences

  • The Alla Bua: Music for Healing
  • Tanya's Story: Dancing Colours
  • Ada's Story: Retrieving Soundness

PART III: FROM RITUAL TO LIMELIGHT

Chapter 6. SpiderWoMen Transfixed: Negotiating Crisis and Cure

  • Diagnosing Spiders: Identifying Tarantula Cases
  • Views on Venom: Interpreting the Spider's Bite
  • Tarantula Alternatives: Choosing Treatment Options

Chapter 7. Tarantula Threads and Showbiz Airs: Fine-tuning Performances

  • Spider Sites: Performance Places
  • Spider Schedules: Performance Times
  • Tarantula Threads: Past Props and Techniques
  • Showbiz Airs: Present Props and Techniques

Chapter 8. SpiderWoMen Transformed: Celebrating Well-being

  • Magic Circles: Allowing Music to Take Over
  • Rhythmic Intervention: Choosing to Entrain
  • Vibrating the Spider's Web: Tapping a Source of Vitality
  • Integrating Toxins: Connecting Self and Other
  • Transforming Identities: Evoking a Sense of Belonging

PART IV: CONCLUSION

Chapter 9. Dancing Beyond Spiders

  • Evelina's Story: Living with the Tarantula
  • Tarantula Rhythms: Reflections on Performance and Well-being

Epilogue

Bibliography

Filmography

Index

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