brings together the lush, hypnotic sound of gamelan orchestra
with the tinkling explosions of metal taps.
Ethereal sensations...An aural feast...emphasizing the deliciously complicated,
fine detailing possible in tap dancing."
-The Orange County Register
NUSANTARA was a special ongoing collaborative project funded by the James Irvine Foundation exploring non-traditional approaches to tap dance choreography. NUSANTARA (Bridge Between Islands) with choreography by Linda Sohl-Ellison and music by I Nyoman Wenten, fused tap dance with Balinese gamelan music and Balinese movement stylings.
I Nyoman Wenten and members of Burat Wangi Gamelan
Part 1: MERAPI
(A Volcano in Java)
Featuring Pauline Hagino, (Fred Strickler, Mindy Millard - not pictured) and Burat Wangi Gamelan
Part 2: DWI
RUPA (Two Faces)
Featuring Linda Sohl-Ellison (wearing mask) and I Nyoman Wenton
Part 3: KECAK (Monkey Chant)
Featuring Bob Carroll and Burat Wangi Gamelan musicians, vocal chant
DESA KALA PATRA (Place, Time, Situation)
Featuring Pauline Hagino, Fred Strickler, Rashida Khan, Linda Sohl-Ellison and Burat Wangi Gamelan
"The sound of an Indonesian gamelan
is like a celestial conversation of gongs, chimes and drums that thrum like
rain, descending to earth with a kind of divinely ordained syncopation and heartbeat-steady
repetition. It probably isn't necessary to say that tap dancing isn't usually
part of the equation, but at the Japan America Theatre on Saturday night, Rhapsody
in Taps proved it's a viable idea by joining forces with members of the CalArts
Balinese gamelan, Burat Wangi, under the direction of I Nyoman Wenten.
Choreographed by Linda Sohl-Ellison, the collaboration was aptly called "Nusantara," which means "(Bridge Between Islands)." The tappers, clad in traditional velvet and gold brocade bodices over trousers and tap shoes, had assimilated elements of traditional Indonesian movement - the quicksilver darting, wavelike fluctuations and extended, bent-back hands. They also became part of the soundscape somewhat seamlessly, altering their usual "it's show time" tap personalities in ways that added dimension to the form.
Capturing some of the elegant lines and vibrating stillness of Indonesian classical dance, Pauline Hagino, Fred Strickler, and Rashida Khan began the piece as a kind of pantheon of "tap gods." And in a mesmerizing duet, a masked Sohl-Ellison floated like smoke and seemed to fascinate Wenten, who enhanced his own beautiful score by circling her with a purer strain of traditional dancing."
Jennifer Fisher - The Los Angeles Times
Click Here for a behind-the-scenes look at Nusantara.