ABSTRACT This article examines how the ideals of self-monitoring, self-reflexivity, self-restraint, and self-governance, as well as assumptions pertaining to the mastery of the body, its movements, and forms of expressivity, lie at the heart of one of Yap's (Federated States of Micronesia) most important aesthetic institutions - the dance. In so doing, it suggests that Yapese dancing and the forms of self-vigilance that are associated with it can be understood as implicated in the formation of a distinctly Yapese moral modality of being. That is, Yapese dancing - including its performance and appreciation - plays a role in helping individuals craft particular forms of feeling, thinking, appreciating, judging, imagining, and behaving that are consonant with local understandings of the good person, the good life, and right action.
A polite and agreeable exterior was maintained at all times to reveal nothing of internal mental states. Yapese frequently played games testing each other's abilities to keep their concentration and sense of restraint. Spectators at a Yapese dance who had forgotten themselves and had become enthralled by a particular dancer were singled out and reminded to chew their wad of betel (mu ko bu'), much to the delight of all present.