BALAM's Ballerina Discusses Joys, Travails of Dancing on Point in Bali
RG: I have had to let go of my image and definition of what ballet is and just let myself dance. I have to trust in my body’s knowledge, as it moves through the choreography and I am in the moment. I have to make split second decisions to respond to moments that feel dangerous, even for this rock-n-roll ballerina. (Robin is a drummer in the rock band, the Generators.)
CF: What have you gained from this experience?
RG: I know the Balinese care most about the dancer’s spirit. They respond to the joy and passion that is dance. Of course, they love beauty and skill, too and are very discerning. Even if the dance style is not their own, they want to feel the spirit of the dancer in the moment. That focus has been very empowering for me and this actually helps me transcend the physical challenges and danger.
CF: How do you like dancing to live gamelan music performed by the renowned Semara Ratih?
RG: Working with those 25 musicians is amazing! In rehearsal, we face each other, so they can watch us as they play to get all our movements coordinated with the rhythms of the music. There is a palpable kinesthetic bond between the dancers and musicians. I feel they are dancing with us. It is wonderful. In the performance, they are seated all around on stage and as I dance, I know when they are pleased. They just smile.
CF: If there was something you would change about the tour so far, what would it be?
RG: I’ve been sick with “Bali Belly”. I would rather not have to go through that. It makes my body weak. Even though there are so many conditions that make point dancing so difficult, I wouldn’t change any of it because that is Bali and my heart is open to the true spirit of Bali.