Dell’arte Goes to Bali 2009 Feb 9-March 12, 2009

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FEBRUARY 9 – MARCH 12, 2009
Check out the Bali Blog 2007
by School Director Joan Schirle

Since 1996, Dell’Arte International has invited students, teachers, designers, directors, and artists to immerse themselves in the traditional arts of Bali and encounter the profound spirit of the Balinese people. In this unique and wonderfully successful program participants study traditional Balinese performing arts and crafts with village masters, as well as Dell’Arte mask and movement techniques led by Dell’Arte’s Founding Artistic Director Joan Schirle and Dell’Arte faculty.

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Bali is an extraordinary island where creativity is ordinary. In Bali, art serves the community, the religious practices, the economy and everyday living. This trip introduces students to Balinese performing arts in a way that allows them to experience how the Balinese live and create, and how family life and religious customs are woven into the creation of art. Unlike programs designed for art tourism, this program is designed for those who want to participate in the family life of outstanding Balinese master teachers as they teach.

Due to the sacred nature of most Balinese arts and the complete intertwining of daily life with ritual, this trip can be an opportunity to deepen our internal connection to our own artistic practice, as well as to take inspiration for creative projects.

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The program begins with a relaxing traditional Balinese buffet dinner, followed by three days of orientation to the language, customs, and ceremonies of Bali, as well as informal meetings with Balinese teachers to observe their work. Orientation will include a symposium on masks with famous carver I. B. Anom, visits to the studios of several mask carvers and puppet makers, and attendance at the famous kecak, or monkey-chant dance by firelight.
During the three and a half weeks of formal study, classes meet five days a week. Sometimes our study will take place in a classroom setting, sometimes outdoors, and most often in its traditional setting at village and temple ceremonies.

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In addition to their core area of study, all students will study kecak, the rhythmic vocal chant, as well as participate in alternating yoga/Alexander Technique, ensemble voice/chant sessions, plus symposiums on the links between Balinese and western mask performance traditions.

All along there will be time for recreation such as mountain hiking, beaches, scuba, nightlife and shopping, including guidance on how to buy Balinese crafts. Massage and revitalizing body treatments are available at extremely low cost.

The core of the program is designed so that each student spends a large percentage of their class time on an area of interest most important to them, and we offer the following options:

• Mask Carving
• Mask Carving/ Balinese Dance (topeng)
• Shadow puppetry (wayang kulit) / Balinese dance

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Learn from a Balinese master carver how to work with the wood, the traditional tools (axe, chisels, knives), and the paints to create traditional and contemporary masks. You may order and bring home their own complete set of tools for under $40. Students will spend 4 – 6 hours daily in the home of their teacher.
For a lively account of one man’s encounter with mask carving, visit this link for interview with design Professor Ron Naverson (S. Illinois U, Carbondale), who was on our ’03 trip.

Your morning will include one hour of Balinese dance. Topeng is the name of the masked dance form performed at most Balinese ceremonies. You will work in the studio of a Balinese master teacher, learning the basic walks, postures, arm and head movements in the mask. Topeng is based on stock characters like the king, minister, clown, and you will have the opportunity to see it performed at village ceremonies during your studies. Your carving program is the same as that described above, except that you will have a break after dance, and be carving in the afternoon, spending up to four hours daily with your teacher.

Wayang kulit is the traditional art of storytelling through shadow puppets, performed by firelight. The puppet master is a combination of priest, storyteller, therapist, actor, and improviser, who manipulates and voices dozens of puppets in one play.
Your morning will include one hour of Balinese dance (see above). Your afternoon will be spent at the home of a shadow puppet master, or dalang, who will instruct you in the art of leather puppet making: design, using the metal punches, painting and rigging techniques. You will observe how the traditional shadow screen is used and develop a short shadow play. Those who are interested in learning Balinese music may elect to spend some time learning the gamelan instrument, the gender, which accompanies shadow plays.

For students who wish to study more dance, we will arrange for other teachers depending on your interest, at a small additional cost.

Cost is based on double occupancy in fan-cooled rooms with two beds, private bath, and breakfast included. (Single rooms available for supplemental cost). There is a swimming pool, beautiful gardens, and a covered, open-air studio where some of our classes will be held. Other meals are available in nearby restaurants at very reasonable costs. Vegetarian food is easily available.
You may apply for a shortened version of the program, but must be able to begin the course on the start date. Address inquiries to the Bali program director.
All interested participants will receive detailed advance information on what to bring, how to prepare, and much more.

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