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

The Triumph of Dharma

BALAM Dance Theatre to Debut at International Dharma Conference

           
Don't miss BALAM Dance Theatre's debut at the Global Dharma Conference (GDC) in Hindu Students Council Presents Sounds of Harmony on Saturday, September 12.  The classical concert will be performed at the NJ Convention & Exposition Center, located at 97 Sunfield Avenue in Edison, New Jersey.  The doors open at 8:00 p.m.
   
Hanuman Credit: Neil Sapienza
BALAM will premiere this scintillating new piece, The Triumph of Dharma, a Balinese modern fusion dance inspired by the Hindu epic, Ramayana.  At the request of presenter Hindu Students Council (HSC), BALAM created the expanded new piece especially for this international event.  The performance features ten dancers wearing vibrant, colorful costumes and masks from BALAM Dance Theatre's extensive inventory and collaborator Coyote Dancers. 


"This project has allowed BALAM to explore the profound concept of Dharma. One of its meanings introduces the immutability of right thinking in an environment of chaotic polarity.  Creating a dance drama that reflects the underlying unity at the heart of these contrasting qualities has been an inspiration for the company," said Carlos Fittante, artistic director of BALAM Dance Theatre.

International Line-Up

The dancers performing in this new piece represent different cultural backgrounds. BALAM Resident Balinese Artist Nani Devi,
Photo Credit: Julie Lemberger
a celebrated performer from Bali who has toured and taught throughout the world, performs an excerpt of traditional Balinese dance to Gong Kebyar gamelan music and also appears as Trijata, Sita's friend and confidant. Dancer and Japanese Noh Theatre actor Toshinori Hamada takes to the stage as the evil demon king Rahwana.  


Fittante performs the role of Prince Rama.  He has studied extensively Balinese dance and toured several times in Bali.  Principal ballerina Robin Gilbert dances the role of Sita, Rama's wife, one she is performed many times.

The multi-talented Fittante, a Baroque dance specialist and co-choreographer with the prestigious Boston Early Music Festival, created the choreography for this new piece.  Hamada and Coyote Dancers' Maher Benham co-created the choreography for the fight scene.

Featured special guest artist Boonyarith Pankamdech from Coyote Dancers joins BALAM’s talented team.  Originally from Thailand, Pankamdech debuts with BALAM as the playful, fun Hanuman the Monkey King.  Five modern dancers from Coyote Dancer also perform in this new production.

Global Conference

Three thousand people from over 20 countries are expected to attend the three-day international conference that begins on Friday, September 11 and continues through Sunday, September 13.  The three day event attended by students, youth and others from over 20 countries and more than 50 universities and colleges.   The unique blend of thought provoking sessions and discussions on Hindu tradition and practices, blissful Yoga and meditation workshops, fun-filled dances, thrilling performances and other activities.

In addition to BALAM Dance Theatre, the concert presents these diverse classical musicians and performers: flute virtuoso Rakesh Chaurasia, mandolin virtuoso U Rajesh, Ghatam (Indian clay pot) Virtuoso Giridhar Udupa, composer and percussionist Rajeev Mahavir, Rachna Sarang Academy of Performing Arts, and Ashwin “AKS” Subramanian.

Tickets, ranging from $25 to $125, to attend the concert may be purchased online or call 732-857-0581 or 732-322-3895.  For more information about the concert and the conference, visit the conference's web site.