BALAM’s new production, From Bali to the Bronx, brought back memories of the company’s successful Bali Tour 2010. The spring performance at Lehman College’s Lovinger Theatre in Bronx, New York included a short video that featured excerpts from “Harlequin’s Charade”, a humorous, masked ensemble choreography created for Islene Pinder, BALAM’s founding director. Pinder, who had not performed in over a decade, returned to the stage on the tour to celebrate this occasion and perform in the new piece. The video showed the Balinese smiling and laughing in response to “Harlequin’s Charade”, while providing many colorful and exotic images of Bali. (Above photo by Glen Chickering)
In the Question & Answer session that concluded the presentation, a theatre teacher in the audience sparked a discussion about the Commedia dell’Arte Harlequin character in the piece. Harlequin is not a stock character in the Balinese pantheon of traditional masked characters, yet the Balinese audience embraced him wholeheartedly. The Balinese grow up seeing masked dance performances and are attuned to reading body language, movement and dance. Because of their heightened sensitivities and Harlequin’s absolutely funny postures and attitude, these two cultures created perfect cross-cultural understanding!
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