NUSANTARA (Bridge Between Islands) fuses tap dance with Balinese gamelan music and Balinese movement stylings.

"'Nusantara' 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

I Nyoman Wenten and members of Burat Wangi Gamelan


Part 1: MERAPI (A Volcano in Java)

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)

Part 2: DWI RUPA (Two Faces)
Featuring Linda Sohl-Ellison (wearing mask) and I Nyoman Wenton


Part 3: KECAK (Monkey Chant)

Part 3: KECAK (Monkey Chant)
Featuring Bob Carroll and Burat Wangi Gamelan musicians, vocal chant


Part 4: DESA KALA PATRA (Place, Time, Situation)

Part 4: DESA KALA PATRA (Place, Time, Situation)
Featuring Pauline Hagino, Fred Strickler, Rashida Khan, Linda Sohl-Ellison and Burat Wangi Gamelan


Unusual Pairing Taps Into Indonesian Tradition

"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.