Julia Morgan Theater
May 5, 2013
Composer: I Made Subandi
Choreographer: Ni Ketut Arini
Performers: Gamelan Sekar Jaya's Gong Kebyar
GSJ Dancers: Ni Ketut Arini, Luh Andarawati, Nina Herlina, Anna Deering
Videography: Dave Wahburn
Tari Warna — New dance work for gender wayang & percussion by Ni Ketut Arini (choreography) & I Made Subandi (composition). Warna draws inspiration from the traditional social system in Bali “Kasta/Warna“ in which higher caste women are often discouraged from becoming involved with lower caste men. The work explores this sensitive topic from a personal perspective, posing a dramatic story to investigate some of the heartbreak & familial issues that arise when the leanings of lovers’ hearts & tides of change brought about through a more globally connected world clash with the older generation’s interpretation of a system of beliefs. The dance is in “pelegongan” style, & choreographed for four dancers. The use of gender accompaniment is quite unusual for dance in Bali, & Subandi’s composition spans the breadth of the ensemble’s styles & moods—from energetic & virtuosic to gentle & flowing. This dynamic work inspired Arini to weave together traditional movements from Balinese dance, as well as hints of Javanese dance into her choreography.
The story tells of the love between a lower caste man & a higher caste woman. As they meet for the first time they both feel a profound connection - a karmic bond. By following their hearts, they quickly fall in love. The young woman’s mother is not happy about the connection, for she believes that lower caste men should not be involved with higher caste women. She urges them to separate, but the two lovers cannot cut their bond. They always find a way to be together--until one day when the young woman’s father learns what is happening & flies into a violent rage. After the rage subsides, the family considers how a strict adherence to the rules of Kaste/Warna has brought unhappiness & ultimately been out of alignment with karma, which deemed the two lovers be together. Following this reflection, the young lovers are allowed to follow the path that their karma had laid before them. Dancers: Luh Andarawati, Ni Ketut Arini, Anna Deering, Nina Herlina Musicians: Carla Fabrizio, Evan Gilman, Lisa Gold, Lydia Martin, Paul Miller, Keenan Pepper, Emily Rolph, Paddy Sandino, I Made Subandi, Wayne Vitale, Sarah Willner.
Note about the work: Arini not only looked to her own experience with the topic, she also turned to social media, asking her facebook friends “What do you think about a higher caste woman marrying a lower caste man?” She had a flurry of responses from youth, adults and seniors in Bali, and the overwhelming majority said that karma would not choose an inappropriate match…to let the love blossom as it may. This hints that adherence to the formal kasta system in Bali is flexible and dynamic with changing times, and that the spiritual underpinnings such as karma carry more weight.