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

Making a Hindu Myth Real by Carlos Fittante

BALAM returns to Bali this summer to perform one of its favorite signature works, “Ramayana-Abduction of Sita”, originally inspired by the Balinese dance drama I witnessed in my first visit to Bali in 1990. BALAM has created an action packed story fusing Balinese, ballet, modern, karate, and belly dance movement to bring four archetypal characters to life. This work has been praised by audiences and received critical acclaim in Bali and the United States.

In preparation for Bali Tour 2010, I am reconstructing the work with a heightened attention during rehearsals to weaving the heroic drama of the characters, who are gods, with real and nuances of human expressions. To accomplish this, I draw upon some of my recent studies and artistic experiences.

Toshinori Hamada as Rahwana. Photo by Julie Lemberger

This year, I have been working with BALAM’s resident guest actor, Inma Heredia, as a movement consultant and choreographer for several of her physical theatre projects. This partnership coincided with my return to acting lessons at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, where I teach movement and also learn the Method.  I have also recently taken a Kestenberg Movement Profile workshop introducing this rich system of movement analysis that trains the observer to perceive and understand the psychological meaning of movement.

These experiences have enhanced my ability to make simple, yet significant changes in the “Ramayana-Abduction of Sita” choreography. Throughout the ballet, the audience will see rich, dynamic choreography that is clearly motivated by the character’s dramatic intention, as well as experience powerful emotional transitions that are rooted in truthfulness. This skilled work from the dancer/artist demands a rich inner life and an ability to transmit this reality outward.  This imbues the characters of the ballet with real human vulnerabilities.

This year’s version of BALAM’s “Ramayana” ballet is sure to move our audiences in Bali once again. The best elements of both worlds are joined, the superhuman drama of the gods and the real emotions of mortals. What better way to capture the audience and lead them through a deep journey!