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Balinese Theater

May 13, 2022  8:30pm

Balinese Mask Dance and Shadow Play

Join us for a performance of Balinese music, dance, and shadow play by dance master I Gusti Ngurah Kertayuda, embedded in an immersive performance of animated sounds from Bali and Sumatra by Bill Parod.

Who is not totally captivated when experiencing Balinese art and culture, whether music, dance, painting, carving, or the grace and blessing of everyday life there? We are fortunate to have such artistry here in Chicago with Balinese dance master, I Gusti Ngurah Kertayuda. His performance tonight is especially rare in featuring him in Topeng (mask dance), Wayang Kulit (shadow play), and in the vocal and instrumental performance of all the gamelan parts heard in tonight's music.

The performance will open with an immersive collage of Balinese village and festival life, followed by a live Topeng performance before presenting the Wayang Kulit performance of Yudha Hati

Yudha Hati means fighting with heart through joy, sadness, and death. This story is from the Sanskrit epic Ramayana and tells of the conflict between rival siblings Sugriva and Subali, the turmoil their ongoing war inflicts on the forest animals, and the alliance of gods Rama and Hanuman formed to restore peace to the kingdom. An expansive cast of gods, birds, monkeys, and environmental forces are heard with Balinese gamelan and Dalang vocals in this 16-channel, spatially animated forest drama. 

Wayang Kulit is Balinese shadow play of myriad characters - animal, human, mortal, and immortal - silhouetted behind a translucent screen representing the boundary between earth and spirit. The characters' dialog is spoken and sung in Sanskrit from the poetry of The Mahabharata and The Ramayana epics, with extemporaneous comments in Indonesian, Balinese, and occasional English. 

Mr. Kertayuda recorded the instrumental and vocal parts for Yudha Hati with recording engineer, Alex Inglizian at Experimental Sound Studio during 2020 and 2021. The soundtrack was presented at the 30-channel SONIC PAVILION FESTIVAL 2021 in The Jay Pritzker Pavilion of Millennium Park, Chicago. A video of that project is below.

We are very excited, with the reopening of Elastic, to perform this piece with live shadow play.

I Gusti Ngurah Kertayuda is one of Bali's most respected master dancers and the director of Indonesian Dance of Illinois. His charismatic performances have been well received throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States. A graduate of the National Performing Arts Institute (KOKAR) in Denpasar, Indonesia, he is well versed in the many forms of traditional dance and music from Indonesia. For more information:  Indonesian Dance of Illinois.

Bill Parod is a composer, violinist, and software developer who works on their integration with interactive game technology, spatial audio, and mobile app delivery to create spontaneous and immersive music. For more information:

Elastic Arts

3429 W Diversey Ave, 2nd Fl

Chicago, IL 60647 USA

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