Sandy Edwards & Russell Dumas in Indonesia

Virginia Baxter

Balinese dancers

Balinese dancers

Photographer Sandy Edwards was invited to Indonesia by Russell Dumas, an Australian choreographer who has a long association with the distinguished Balinese choreographer and musician, I Made Djimat, a master in the classical Batuan style of Balinese dance. In the village of Batuan, the most treasured classical dance—Gambuh, Topeng, Calonarang and Wayang Wong—still flourishes and is an integral part of temple ceremonies. In preparation for a forthcoming film on I Made Djimat, Sandy photographed the master preparing a young pupil for his first public performance in which he would play an old man.

On another night, under a full moon, she photographed the Rejang, a dance performed by women each night over three to four months of the year to ward off illnesses associated with the rainy season. In the public square at Batuan village, the women dance in lines, moving slowly in elegant, tai-chi like movement towards the male gamelan orchestra. Children move through the space, life goes on around the dancing.

Some of the photographs were exhibited during The Performance Space’s antistatic festival in the Dance Exchange Sydney studio. Some made small dances on the wall. Others were displayed on drying racks, some spilled onto the floor, awaiting assemblage, in progress. In another part of the room, videos showed the dances in more complete form. The audience entered the white studio through an ornate Balinese stage curtain.

RealTime issue #19 June-July 1997 pg. 29

© Virginia Baxter; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 June 1997
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