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The Gods Descend in Lower Manhattan in BALAM Dance Theatre’s Ancestral Grace in
Battery Dance Company Presents The 30th Annual Downtown Dance Festival
BALAM Dance Theatre’s new program, Ancestral Grace, will be presented in two performances on Saturday, August 13 from 2:30-3:00 p.m. at The Lawn at Battery Park (adjacent to State Street at Pearl Street) and Friday, August 19 from 12:00-12:30 p.m. at One New York Plaza (between Water Street and Whitehall Street) in Battery Dance Company Presents The 30th Annual Downtown Dance Festival. This celebrated New York summer dance festival is free
and open to the public.
For this festival, BALAM, a New York City-based company that offers a new vision of contemporary dance by fusing ballet, modern and diverse cultural dance styles with Balinese theatre, has created a new rendition of its signature work, Ramayana-Abduction of Sita.
“We have created a new segment and added point work into our celebrated fusion ballet, which has received critical acclaim many times in Bali and the Untied States,” said BALAM Founding Director Islene Pinder.
BALAM’s Ramayana-Abduction of Sita, an action packed dance drama inspired by the Hindu epic, integrates ballet, Baroque, belly dance and karate movement with Balinese dance. Performed to an original gamelan score recorded in Bali, the energetic Balinese music and vocals compel the dancers adorned in bejeweled, golden scrolled costumes to leap, spin, and flash their eyes, as they enact this timeless tale of good and evil.
Primordial Embers, a tour-de-force modern dance from BALAM’s repertoire that features an orchestral jazz score inspired by gamelan music, will also be added to Ramayana-Abduction of Sita. This new segment represents the flames of the demon’s passions.
BALAM’s principal ballerina, Robin Gilbert, dances the role of Sita on point especially for this festival. This new choice for BALAM’s presentation of the Sita character joins the earthy, voluptuous Balinese female dance posture and movements with the ethereal delicacy of point work from the classical ballet tradition. Two quintessential feminine movement patterns from two distinct cultures will be revealed in one physical expression.
The remaining archetype characters of the work will be performed using a range of dance styles and movements fused with Balinese dance. Nani Devi, BALAM's resident guest Balinese dancer, will perform the role of Dewi Mimpi, angel of the dreams, highlighting her captivating traditional, village style of Balinese dance. Long-time BALAM company members Toshinori Hamada, a traditional Japanese Noh actor and martial artist, appears as the greedy demon Rahwana, and Carlos Fittante, artistic director, performs the noble prince Rama by blending Baroque and ballet partnering.
Several new dancers have joined the company this year and will appear in the work. Former Broadway ballerina Dianna Warren dances the deceitful Golden Deer on point blended with touches of belly dance movement. Olsi Gjeci, an Albanian folk dancer and release technique dancer, and Atsushi Yahagi, a street and modern dancer, perform the roles of the fire gods.About BALAM Dance Theatre
BALAM Dance Theatre (BALAM) creates a new vision of contemporary dance by blending a cutting-edge fusion of Balinese theatre with ballet, modern and diverse cultural movement techniques from around the world. Founded in 1979 by Islene Pinder to educate the community about Bali’s culture and dance, BALAM offers free and affordable high quality, professional performances, workshops and creative events at the grassroots level. The company’s distinctive, entertaining style appeals to all audiences and has been featured at several distinguished festivals and venues, such as First Night New York, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and the International Bali Arts Festival.
(Publicity by Luhrs & Associates)
For further information about BALAM Dance Theatre, call 646-361-9183 or visit www.balamdance.org and www.BalamDanceTheatre.BlogSpot.com. Stay updated about the company's new work, events, activities and announcements on Facebook, www.facebook.com/balamdancetheatre.