Robin Gilbert and Carlos Fittante in "Tigerlily and the Dragonfly". Photo: Julie Lemberger

2018 Calendar

September and October Events

Saturday, November 17, 7:30 p.m.
Mosaic Dance: Celebrating 15 Years of Mediterranean Magic. BALAM joins the eclectic artists of Mosaic Dance Theatre in a splendid anniversary dance celebration including a work inspired by the Commedia dell'Arte.
Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, 248 West 60th St., New York, NY 10023
Advance Tickets: $25-general admission, $20-seniors, $35 and $20 at the door.

2018 Season in Chronological Order

Thursday, February 8 at 6 and 9 p.m. - Princeton Concerts
Bach and Beyond: Exploring Bach’s Chaconne and Its Legacy featuring violinist Jennifer Koh performing the Bach Chaconne in D Minor. Alexander Hall, Princeton University.BALAM's pre-concert family friendly Baroque dance class on the Chaconne precedes the performance.
Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Concert Tickets: $10 an $25. (Photo: Roey Yohai)

Monday - Wednesday, April 2-4. Balinese Dance Masterclasses, University of Vermont 
BALAM presents performances of the Terunajaya and offers lessons in Balinese dance, mask, and fan work for Professor Paula Higa's course on World Dance. Tuesday's lesson open to the community, FREE.

Thursday, April 5. 3-4:30 p.m. Balinese Dance Masterclass and Performance
BALAM returns for its eight consecutive season as a guest presenter for Professor Kathryn Posin's course on World Dance, featuring a performance of Terunajaya and lesson in Balinese dance and mask work. (Photo: Julie Lemberger)

Orfeo on Tour with Apollo's Fire
Friday, April 13. 8:00 p.m., 
Cleveland Institute of Music (Kulas Hall)

Saturday, April 14. 8:00 p.m.
Cleveland Institute of Music (Kulas Hall)

Sunday, April 15
University Musical Society (Univ. of Michigan)
Hill Auditorium

Wednesday, April 18, 7:30 p.m
St. Raphael Catholic Church, Bay Village, OH

Friday, April 20
Cal Performances (U.C. Berkeley)
Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, CA

Sunday, April 22
Green Music Center (Weill Hall)
Rohnert Park. Sonoma, CA

Orfeo, circa 1607, Claudio Monteverdi sublime opera based on the beloved myth of Orfeo is presented in a semi-staged production by Apollo's Fire, Cleveland's Baroque orchestra. Featured singers include: Karim Sulayman as Orfeo, Erica Shuller as Euridice, and Amanada Powell as Proserpina, with stage direction  by Sophie Daneman, and choreography and dance by BALAM. 

NYC and New England

Thursday - Sunday, June 14-22.A Midsummer Night's Dream, with choreography by BALAM and guest choreographer, Kristin Jackson. Shakespeare Downtown

Tuesday. July 10, 12-1, Free
Ramayana-Abduction of Sita
Music Beyond Borders and The Mayo Center for the Performing Arts
Morristown Green, 10 North Park Place
Morristown, NJ 07960

Thursday, July 26. $30 and $10 Dido and Aeneas, a semi-staged production
David’s Folly Farm, West Brooksville, Maine
Blue Hill Bach Festival 
Enjoy pre-show refreshments for purchase at the Baroque Café before the performance of Henry Purcell's opera, Dido and Aeneas
$30 admission, students $10, under 18 free

Saturday, August 18 at 4 p.m. FREE, Icarus
Dance at Socrates Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, NY

Saturday, August 25 at 7:30 p.m. $15
Music and Dance of the 17th and 18th Centuries,
presented by the Hudson River Consort in loving memory of Peg Gummere
Tivoli Artists' Gallery
60 Broadway, Tivoli, NY –
Limited Seating - Tickets $15 at the door – Includes Refreshments
Doors Open at 7pm 

Monday, September  17, 8:30-9:15 p.m. Balinese Dance and Culture Performance/Masterclass
NYU Open Arts at the Steinhardt Center, 24 Stuyvesant St. NYC. NYU students only

Friday, September 28, 2:30-4:00 p.m. Balinese Dance and Culture Performance/Masterclass
NYU Tisch School of the Arts, 111 Second Ave. NYC. NYU students only

Wednesday, October 3, 3:50-5:40 p.m. Baroque Dance Performance-Lecture.
Saint Louis to Saint Laurent: Fashion and France taught by Elizabeth Morano as part of the Masters in Fashion Studies Program, Parsons Art and Design History and Theory Department at the New School, NYC.

Wednesday, October 24 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE
The Dancing Fan: An Icon from Spanish, Japanese, and Balinese Courts
Enjoy a program of fan dances and songs highlighting the symbolic use of the fan, a fashion icon from the courts of Spain, Japan, and Bali.
Leonia Public Library
227 Fort Lee Rd, Leonia, NJ 07605
(201) 592-5770

Saturday, October 27. 4-6 p.m. for workshops and 7-8 p.m performance
Folk and Modern Workshop/Performance
BALAM presents the Balinese and Spanish escuela bolero dance solos, Terunajaya and El Vito,
Presented by the Putnam County Dance Project, which is sponsored by the Town of Southeast Cultural Arts Coalition.  This project is made possible in part through Putnam Arts Councils Arts Links Grant Program with public funds provided through the NY state council on the arts with support from Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NY State Legislature. Photo Credit: Luke Servilio

Friday, November 2. 11 a.m. 1 12 p.m. FREE
Ramayana-Abduction of Sita
East Woods School, 31 Yellow Cote Rd, Oyster Bay, NY 11771

Monday, November 5, 6-7 p.m. FREE
Mythic Dances and Balinese Gods
Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library
479 Broadway Monticello, NY 12701
Phone: (845)794-4660

Saturday, November 17, 7:30 p.m.
Mosaic Dance: Celebrating 15 Years of Mediterranean Magic
BALAM joins the eclectic artists of Mosaic Dance Theatre in a splendid anniversary dance celebration including a work inspired by the Commedia dell'Arte.
Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, 248 West 60th St., New York, NY 10023
Advance Tickets: $25-general admission, $20-seniors, $35 and $20 at the door.

Friday, November 30, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Baroque Dance Performance-Lecture, Embodying Grace offered by Carlos Fittante for the course, From Saint Louis to Saint Laurent: Fashion and France taught by Elizabeth Morano at New York University. (This is event is only for NYU students.)

Saturday, December 1 at 4 and 8 p.m. FREE
Mosaic Dance: Celebrating 15 Years of Mediterranean Magic
Mount St. Dominic Academy, 3 Ryerson Ave, Caldwell, NJ 07006

Wd.-Sn., Dec. 12-16, The Christmas Show. Paid Tickets. 
St. George Theatre, 35 Hyatt St., Staten Island, New York
Grand Pas de Deux 

A Reflection by Ling Ong on Studying with Islene Pinder

Balam’s volunteer advisor, Ling Ong, who learned the Balinese Masked Dance of the King from Islene Pinder, on how Islene influenced her as a scholar of Hindu-Buddhist Art.

Islene Pinder was the least likely American mermaid (before modern dance, Islene had performed synchronized swimming) to go to Bali and delve into the marvelous shimmer and vigor she had absorbed from a village troupe of dancers and gamelan musicians who had performed in New York City.  She returned to the city and started presenting traditional Balinese dances and choreography of her own at her loft space.  What she brought to the downtown scene was a physicality and aesthetic utterly divergent from the downtown avant-garde scene of the 1970s.  But her audience routinely packed the 1600 sq. ft. loft on Franklin Street in Tribeca. 

I will never forget Islene breaking down, on my behalf, the subtle movements of the Topeng Raja character.  Her Masked Dance of the King was the direct result of studious, respectful field work in the village of Mas, where she learned the stately movements directly from Breset.  He was the one and only Pak Breset who could transmit majestic authority with a flick of his finger and command obeisance through an electrifying full stop of his turning head.  Over and over again, we watched the 35 mm film she had taken of Pak Breset.    

After studying the film, Islene would lecture-demo endlessly to me, about the perfect angle of the rotating head and why that matters to the arm-hand dynamics, why the head movements must be just so in timing and dynamics for a dramatic presence amplifying the speechless dictates conveyed by fingers gesturing and the restrained power of the feet walking in dorsi-flexion.   The smallest, treasured detail she had absorbed in Bali was being transmitted to me.

As a young dancer, I barely understood the analytical depth of Islene’s instructions, for I had yet to learn about the Islene Pinder who was deeply connected to and influenced by Laban Movement Analysis.  She had worked very closely with Irmgard Bartenieff and Warren Lamb.  In fact, she and Irmgard had been reviewing Islene’s visual records of Balinese physicality; they were particularly fascinated by the sharply angled toes of a Balinese man, bare-handed and unshod feet in dorsi-flexion, climbing a coconut tree.

The most important lesson I learned in Islene’s loft was that fine, small, seemingly relaxed gestures are as difficult as bravura athleticism.  Delicate princess hands derive from the same sophisticated willpower regulating steely ballerina legs (see this instantly from a Florida snapshot of mermaid Islene lifted by a handsome bodybuilder, Balam’s January blogpost).  When in Bali, Islene was commended for her interpretations of Balinese men’s dance; her hands and feet had the appropriately masculine verve and strong vibration.  Back in New York City, with glossy nail polish on, she would exclaim, “this is not easy!” as she demonstrated for me the Bharatnatyam dancer’s arm and hand lengthened into a soigne gesture along the side of the body; it was the iconic Dola Hasta seen over and over again in other classical dance traditions of India and in the statues of Standing Parvati, the goddess who is the consort of Siva the Destroyer, the god who can dance to a sweet drumming rhythm. 

Breset on film, Islene in person, the Mask of the Balinese King, they were with me, 3 decades later, when I encountered a small bronze figurine from East Java of the late 10th C.E.   It is part of the Samuel Eilenberg collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Hindu friends say that it is about Brahma, 4 faces.  The museum has tentatively identified it as an Esoteric Buddhist deity who also has 2 pairs of arms evoking the dance.  To my knowledge, it has no definitive linkage to a royal patron or any religious documents.   Yet I immediately recognized the placement of the feet in lotus pose high up towards the femoral joint was the kinaesthesia of Iyengar Yoga that I had practiced.  Unfazed by time and geography—

Esoteric Buddhist Figurine from the Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Metropolitan Museum, NYC

Pak Breset himself gave me a private lesson and was duly impressed by the fundamentals Islene had transmitted to me—I simply began a dancer-ly movement analysis.  Learning the Balinese Topeng Raja had prepared to leap over the mysterious origin and simply believe in the recorded movement.

My research is far from over.  This Eilenberg figurine is a little over 4 inches tall and presents a host of intricate details.  The headdress, the jewelry, the positon of the other body parts, the facial expressions, all must be respectfully considered as part of the ancient movement teaching that I immediately feel as a way of sustaining meditation in seated lotus position.  As my Totemic Buddha, it transmits to me the  meditative kinaesthesia of ancient practitioners.

The French Baroque Style and the German Court Featuring Suite en La Mineur by Robert Visee and La Lyre Enchantée by Ludwig Hesse

Join BALAM Dance Theatre for a FREE special holiday program!
Thursday, December 21, 1:15-2 p.m. 
Saint Bartholomew’s Church, 50th Street and Park Avenue, New York, NY

The French Baroque Style and the German Court presented through GEMS’ Midtown Concert Series features selections from Robert de Visée’s guitar Suite en La Mineur and La Lyre Enchantée, a playful opera-ballet by Jean-Philippe Rameau arranged for two bass viols by 18th century viola da gamba virtuoso Ludwig Hesse.

Musicians of BALAM: Lisa Terry and Beverly Au-viols, Adam Cockerham-Baroque guitar
Choreography and dancer: Carlos Fittante
Actor: Inma Heredia
Plot synopsis: Cynthia Ahart Wood, reworked by Carols Fittante and Inma Heredia


Suite en La Mineur from Livre de Guitarre, Dédie au Roi (1682) by Robert de Viseé:

I. Prélude
II. Courante
III. Sarabande
IV. Gigue
V. Passacaille
La Lyre Enchantée:
Prélude. Gracieux (Charmes de mon vainqueur)
Ariette. Sans vitesse (Chantez la faveur éclatante)
Ariette et Choeur des Satyres et des Faunes. Gai (Venez tous écouter ma lyre)
Ariette. Con spirito (Dieu cruel)
Air en Rondeau. Sans Lenteur (La sagesse est de bien aimer)
Mouvement de Chaconne. Poco Lento. Allegro
Ariette. Gai (Vole Amour)

Music Program Note:

Ludwig Christian Hesse (1716-1772) was a famous viola da gamba virtuoso in the 18th-c. Berlin court. Hesse was keen on transcribing French operas, but did not exclude composers from Italy or his native Germany (such as J.C. Bach and Graun). The predilection for French opera might be viewed as a way for the German court to keep up with what was a la mode in Paris at the time. Hesse's transcriptions are remarkable in many ways, including his ingenious manner of adapting music originally for a large orchestra with choir to the bare minimum of two viols.

Photo: Mike Morris

The essence of the opera is preserved and miraculously falls naturally under the fingers, as if Rameau had conceived it as a viol duo in the first place! --Paris, March 2010 Jonathan Dunford

Lisa Terry is a member of Parthenia and the Dryden Ensemble, and is principal cellist and viol soloist with Tempesta di Mare (Philadelphia). She has performed with the New York Philharmonic, New York City Opera, Juilliard Opera Orchestra, Opera Lafayette, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Concert Royal. Lisa serves the Viola da Gamba Society of America as President.

In addition to her extensive work with the viol consort Parthenia, Beverly Au has performed with many notable early music ensembles and series, including Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity, NY's Ensemble for Early Music, Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts, and The American Classical Orchestra. She has played on Broadway (The Tempest, starring Patrick Stewart), on television and in film (Al Pacino's Looking for Richard).

Early music artist Adam Cockerham specializes in theorbo, lute, and baroque guitar. He has performed with ensembles such as Trinity Baroque Orchestra, NOVUS NY, Philharmonia Chamber Players, New York Baroque Incorporated, El Mundo, and J415. He has been involved in modern world premiere performances of 17th-century operas with companies such as Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik (Le nozze in sogno), Ars Minerva (La Cleopatra, Le Amazzoni nelle isole fortunate), and world premiere performances of new operas with companies like the Prototype Festival (Pulitzer Prize-winning Angel’s Bone) and Opera Saratoga (A Long Walk). Partnering with acclaimed mezzo-soprano Danielle Sampson, he founded voice and guitar/lute duo Jarring Sounds, which released its first album in 2014.

Inma HerediaBALAM Dance Theatre’s resident actor, is a native of Seville, Spain and the world’s first and only Flamenco comedienne. Noted for her salero (special charm), she is a celebrated entertainer who performs as a master of ceremonies, actor, singer, dancer, and comedian. An award recipient from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors and the Association of Critics in Entertainment, her one woman show, Divas de España (Spanish Divas), has been critically acclaimed. Other performing credits include:  Dulcinea in The Adventures of Don Quixote, the Theatre for the New City´s street theater summer tour and the host in the New York hit, Latinas Don't P.M.S, which premiered at the world-famous Apollo Theatre. She has been a guest performer at the United Nations, Central Park, and numerous Off-Broadway theatres and events for humanitarian causes.

Carlos Fittante, Artistic Director of BALAM Dance Theatre, specializes in Baroque, Balinese, and Spanish escuela bolera dances and works as a choreographer, dancer, and teacher.  Known for spirited, elegant choreography and performances,

Photo: Julie Lemberger

he has received praise from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, and Dance MagazineHe has performed throughout the United Stated and internationally with the Boston Early Music Festival, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, 2nd Encuentro de Baile Contemporáneo in Mexico, and the International Arts Festival in Bali. A teacher and movement coach, his customized choreographies serve diverse communities at the grass-roots level. A graduate of the School of American Ballet, he holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Wisconsin, and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Queens College: City University of New York.

2017 Calendar

Full 2017 Season

Thurs., Jan. 5 at 1:15  p.m. FREE
Baroque Music and Dance from the Courts and Villages of Europe and the New World. St. Bartholemew's Church
50th Street and Park Ave. New York, NY

Photo Credit: Julie Lemberger

Lisa Terry-Baroque cello, Maureen Murchie-Baroque violin, Adam Cockerham-Baroque guitar, Robin Gilbert and Carlos Fittante-dancers
Presented by GEMS Midtown Concert Series

Thurs., Feb. 2, 4:30-6:00. Balinese Masterclass
NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study 
Closed event

Sun., Feb. 5 at 4 p.m. 
$30-adults, $25-seniors, Free-students under 18
Leonia Chamber Musicians Society
Spanish Inspired Music, a program of works by Joaquín Turina, Luigi Boccherini, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco

All Saints Episcopal Church,
150 Park Avenue, Leonia, NJ

Photo Credit: Marilyn Nichols

Featuring Cynthia Phelps, Principal Viola of the New York Philharmonic and Carlos Fittante of BALAM Dance Theatre

Wed.-Fri., April 5-7 at 7 p.m. Sat., April 8 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sun., April 9 at 3 p.m. $22, $15-seniors, $10-students.

Damn Yankees, presented by the Drama, Theatre, and Dance Department at Queens College with music by Richard Adler, lyrics by Jerry Ross, book by George Abbott and Douglas Wallop, directed by Charles Repole, and choreography by Carlos Fittante
Queens College's Kupferberg Center, Goldstein Theatre
64th Ave, Flushing, NY 11367
(718) 793-8080

Thurs., April 6, 1:15-2:00 p.m. FREE 
St. Bartholemew's Church, 50th Street and Park Ave. New York, NY. 
GEMS Midtown Concerts presents 
The Musicians of BALAM
Lisa Terry-Baroque cello, Maureen Murchie-Baroque violin, and Adam Cockerham-Baroque guitar. 

Photo Credit: William Wegman

Sun., April 30, 2-3 p.m. Free
Poetry Moves, a family friendly program celebrating National Poetry Month of diverse dance, music, and text. BALAM artists to be featured: Inma Heredia, Carlos Fittante, Toshinori Hamada, Yumiko Niimi, Barbara Romero, and guest musician Guzeli. Fort Lee Public Library320 Main St, Fort Lee, NJ 07024. (201) 592-3615,  
Photo Credit: Yi-Chun Wu

April 27-May 7
The Dreyfus Affair 
BALAM Baroque inspired dances for the
Ensemble for the Romantic Century
Fisher Playhouse at BAM

Max Von Essen and Meghan Picerno. Photo Credit: Shirin Tinati

Friday, May 19 at 8 p.m. $20
Sarabande Espagnole Pour Homme (1701)
Dig Dance: Weekend Series: A Retrospective on the Series, Fridays at Noon 1987-2017
92Y Harkness Dance Center, Buttenwieser Hall, 2nd floor 
1395 Lexington Ave at 92nd Street. 

June 11-18Le Carnaval de Venise /June 17, 24,  and 25,La Serva Padrona andLivietta e Tracollo
BALAM's Carlos Fittante will perform in the Boston Early Music Festival 2017 Festival Operas
Cutler Majestic Theatre and Jordan Hall
Boston, Massachusetts

Friday, July 21 at 5 p.m

George Frideric Handel’s spectacular Terpsichore suite at the Blue Hill Bach Festival

The Sail Loft, Atlantic Boat Company. Brooklin, Maine.

Carlos Fittante, the choreographer, will dance opposite Alexis Silver, as the muse of dance. Silver, a Baroque ballerina 

Alexis Silver. Photo Credit:NYCreative Marketing LLC » NY Baroque Dance 

affiliated with the New York Baroque Dance Company and the Boston Early Music Festival Dance Ensemble, will be featured in this special event, which also includes a dance ensemble from the community, and a pre-show Baroque dance masterclass followed by refreshments.  

Monday, July 24 from 3:15-4:45 p.m. 
Sevillanas Spanish Dance Masterclass, $35

Marblehead School of Ballet, 115 pleasant Street, 01945. (781) 631-6262. No previous dance experience required; all are welcome.

Fri. Sept. 29 at 1:30 p.m. Closed Event
Balinese Dance Masterclass

NYU Tisch School of the Arts

Tues., Oct. 3, 3:10-4:25 p.m. Guest teach Spanish dance at Queens College

Wed., Oct 4, 3:30-5:40 p.m. Baroque Dance Performance and Masterclass. The New School.

Thurs., Oct. 5, 9:40-10:30 a.m. Baroque Dance Masterclass. Queens College.

Mon., Oct. 16, 12:30-1:15 p.m. Spanish dance masterclass for the Queens College Student Union.

Thurs., Oct. 19, 9:40-10:40 a.mBaroque Dance Masterclass. Queens College.

Sun., Oct 29, 5-7 p.m. Performances of the Balinese and Japanese Noh theatre dance solos, Terunajaya and Yashima, at the book launching party for World Dance Cultures: From Ritual to Spectacle at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, 111 Second Ave, 4th floor. NYC

Tues., Oct 31, 3:10-4:25 p.m. Guest teach at Spanish dance at Queens College.

Thurs., Nov. 2. 3:10-4:25 p.m. Guest teach at Queens College.

Fri., Dec. 1, 9:30-11:40 a.m. Baroque dance performance and lecture at The New School.

Thurs.-Sun., Dec. 7-107 p.m. and 3 p.m. The Christmas Show, St. George Theatre, Staten Island, NY, 35 Hyatt St. Tickets: $45, $25, $15

Tues., Dec. 12, 7 p.m. A performance of Terunajaya for Danielle Russo's Inter Arts Dance History course at NYU.

Wed., Dec. 20, 7-9 p.m. Big Wig at the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. $65.

Thurs., Dec. 21, 1:15-2 p.m. French Baroque music in Germany, featuirng La Lyre Enchantee at St Bartholomew's Church, 50th St and Park Ave. FREE.

Remembering Founding Director Islene Pinder (1929-2012)

Trailblazing Balinese dance pioneer, Islene Pinder, founding director of BALAM Dance Theatre (BALAM), a Lehman College-City of New York University dance professor from 1968 to 1998, became interested in Balinese dance and culture upon seeing a touring troupe of Balinese dancers and musicians perform in New York City.

Photo Credit: Julie Lemberger

In 1974, she embarked upon the first of many trips to Bali, Indonesia before running water, electricity and paved roads were introduced throughout the  island.  In Bali, she studied with prominent master dance teachers Bapak Kakul and I. Made Jimat from Batuan, Tutur from Petulu Ubud and A. A. Gde Breset from Mas Ubud, Agung Rai and others.  She excelled in the challenging male dance roles of Baris (warrior), as well as the masked roles of the demonic trickster, Jauk, and the elegant Dalem (king) characters.

During a sabbatical in 1976, she lived in Bali and undertook an extensive study of the culture.  While on this life changing visit, she became the adoptive godmother to Balinese child dancer, A. A. Gde Anom Putra (Anom), now the artistic director of the acclaimed gamelan ensemble Sanggar Semara Ratih of Ubud, Bali.

Joining Dance and Movement Research

At Lehman College, she developed Pinder fundamentals, a systematic instructional method created to teach and present Balinese dance to Western students.  She received numerous research awards from the PSC-CUNY Research Award Program for her groundbreaking study, Movement Patterns Seen in Balinese Mothers and Babies and Balinese Dance, using the Kestenberg Movement Profile (KMP), a psycho-analytical system of movement analysis. Other KMP investigation conducted by Islene included an examination of the the Balinese iconic dance, Baris, and an analysis of the fundamental qualities of Baroque dance.

Balinese Life, Dance Filmmaker

For 37 years, Pinder documented on film and video some of Bali’s greatest dancers and captured many of the culture’s daily rituals and important festivals.  Pinder’s movement analyst eye drew her to many unique, meaningful moments as a cultural anthropologist, rooted in a body-movement perspective.  Her own physical understanding of Balinese dance gave her deep insight and she compiled a comprehensive library of Balinese life and dance, culminating in the 45-minute video documentary, Isle of Bali, created specifically for educational purposes to teach students and people of all ages in school and college classrooms, lecture halls, libraries, museums, and community centers in the West.

BALAM Dance Theatre Founded

Pinder founded the non-profit dance company BALAM Dance Theatre in 1979 with the explicit goals of bringing the beauty and detailed skills of Balinese dance to the greater New York community and exploring the fusion of Balinese and contemporary dance styles.  Under her leadership, the company performed in Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, and the United States.

As the founding director of BALAM from its inception until her death, the company collaborated with the Sanggar Semara Ratih many times, touring throughout the remote villages of Bali, as well as participating in the Second International Dance Festival at Sekolah Tinggi Seni Indonesia (STSI): College of the Performing Arts in Denpasar, Bali.  On BALAM’s Bali Tour 2010, Pinder returned to the stage in the comedic masked fantasy, Harlequin’s Charade, dancing excerpts that referenced her favorite traditional Balinese dance roles, Baris and Jauk.

Some of her enduring choreographic works include Night Shadow-A Balinese Dream, Vision of Sound, Bird Jauk, Gods Through a Temple, Memory, Fragrance and Pity.  Her eclectic vision received critical praise from the media with notable reviews in the New York Times, Dance Magazine, Village Voice, Bronx Times and many others.

A mentor for many generations of dancers  and artists, Pinder trained BALAM’s co-artistic director, choreographer and dancer Carlos Fittante.  Together they created BALAM’s signature work, Ramayana-Abduction of Sita, thrilling audiences with its fusion of Balinese, ballet, karate, Baroque and modern dance styles.  The Governor and people of Bali and the Indonesian Consulate of New York have highly commended this cross-cultural interpretation of a beloved Hindu myth.

Love of Dance Begins Early

Born Islene Gassman in Hoboken, New Jersey, Pinder lived a life of dance, study and creativity.  A dancer, choreographer and researcher of Balinese dance and culture, she received a master of arts degree from Teachers College, Columbia University and an undergraduate degree in physical education from New York University.  Other credentials garnered include certification in Effort-Shape, a system of movement pattern analysis, and intensive studies with Dr. Judith Kestenberg, the originator of the Kestenberg Movement Profile.             A dance lover from childhood, her dance studies included Martha Graham technique, ballet and Luigi Jazz in New York, where she studied with dance luminaries, such as Martha Graham, Louis Horst, Charles Weidman, Doris Humphrey, Hanya Holm, José Limon, Walter Nicks and Luigi.  She worked briefly as a performance-synchronized swimmer in an aquatics show and a print model in Florida.

BALAM Dance Theatre to Debut New Baroque Inspired Work at Queens College

When the curtain comes up in December at Queens College, BALAM Dance Theatre will debut The Fountain of Pleasure, a new Baroque inspired choreography created by artistic director Carlos Fittante.  This latest work will premiere in XWhyY: My Genderation Dances of Exploration, for the Queens College-City University of New York's Faculty Choreographic Showcase
            The performance will be presented at M11 Studio Theatre, Rathaus Hall at Queens College, located at 64th Ave in Flushing, New York.  The program will be presented on Thursday, December 1 and Friday, December 2 at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, December 3 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, December 4 at 3:00 p.m. 

            The new work features Carlos Fittante and guest artists Alexis Silver and Andrew Trego from the Boston Early Music Festival Dance Ensemble.  Queens College student dancers Cindy Centurion, Gavy Contreras, Delsa Heredia, Khiabet Leal, Jaria Morris, and Rochelle Reyes will join them.  Other artists involved in the program are costume designer Sarita Fellows and props by Nelly Reyes.
            The dance style, physical acting technique, and theatrical conventions of Baroque theatre.  "In the opening tableaux, personifications of love, passion, compassion, humor, compromise, affection, and trust are performed.   The ballet's narrative illustrates a Baroque sensibility in which divinity intervenes on the behalf of humanity to offer insight and guidance," said Fittante, Artistic Director of BALAM Dance Theatre.  Fittante's critically acclaimed co-choreographed work has appeared in the prestigious Boston Early Music Festival's Almira and other productions.

            The elegant piece is accompanied by an overture excerpt and Chaconne from Les Fountaines de Versailles, circa 1683, composed by Michel-Richard Lalande and performed by the Orchestre de Chambre Hewitt.  "The students will learn much from this experience gaining formal refinement and beauty rooted in a tradition of western culture.  For some students this is their first performance concert and introduction to Baroque dance and music.  A special thanks is extended to Professor Weeks for her work as co-rehearsal director and Leslye Del Carpio, who generously served as an understudy for the pantomime sections," said Fittante.

   A choreographer and dance artist of remarkable diversity performing Ballet, Spanish Escuela Bolera, Baroque, Balinese and other movement styles, Fittante has performed throughout the world in Japan, Korea, Indonesia, England, Germany, Spain, Mexico, and the United States.  As a Baroque choreographer and dancer, he has performed with several leading period music and dance ensembles, including the Boston Early Music Festival, where he is ballet master; New York Baroque Dance Company; Four Nations Ensemble; and The Bishop’s Band. He has also choreographed and performed for the opera companies Teatro Lirico D.C. and New York City Opera; and others.  His period choreography for George Frideric Handel's operas Almira and Acis and Galatea received critical praise.
Photo credit: Andre Constantini

            Tickets are $10 for students and $16 for adults.  Student tickets may only be purchased at the box office window.  Adult tickets are available online at and at the box office.  For further information about tickets, contact the box office at 718-793-8080 and