ISI Denpasar | Institutional Repository

Yudistira Nangun Tapa "Visiting Artist Balinese Shadow Puppetre to Richmond"

I Made, Sidia, SSP., M.Sn (2010) Yudistira Nangun Tapa "Visiting Artist Balinese Shadow Puppetre to Richmond". Documentation. ISI Denpasar.

[img] Microsoft Word (Cover Yudistira Nangun Tapa "Visiting Artist Balinese Shadow Puppetre to Richmond")
Download (39kB)


As one of Bali’s premiere choreographers, Madé Sidia has toured the world and collaborated with numerous international artists. A faculty member at the National Arts Institute in Denpasar, the capital city of Bali, Indonesia, Sidia is teaching at Richmond this semester with music professor Andy McGraw. Besides being a choreographer, Sidia is also a musician, masked dancer and an accomplished dalang, or puppeteer. Raised in a family of artists, Sidia took after his father, Made Sija, who is renowned in the world of Balinese shadow puppetry. This ancient art form uses carved rawhide puppets to tell mythological stories, usually religious Hindu epics. Five hundred years ago, all of Indonesia practiced Hinduism. Today the majority of the country’s population practices a form of Islam but the province of Bali has remained Hindu. The translation of dalang to puppeteer, says McGraw, is not an accurate one. A dalang also must know all of the music and dances that go along with the story he tells and must memorize long strings of ancient poetry in a liturgical language that equates to the Latin of the Eastern world. Performances of shadow puppetry are often commissioned for life ceremonies. “A dalang is at once a musician, priest, comedian and philosopher,” McGraw said. “He has to master story, dance and philosophy and he has to be funny on top of it.” McGraw has been playing Indonesian music himself for about 12 years and has known Sidia since he began making research trips to Bali. During his career, McGraw has spent nearly four years, over the course of several different research trips, living in Bali and Java and studying the experimental music of Southeast Asia. He is excited to be co-teaching a class with Sidia this semester called Music and Theatre in Indonesia. The class has access to all the instruments played in a full Balinese orchestra, including gongs, bells, drums and fiddles. Students spend half of each class session in discussion and the other half of each session using the instruments, learning the dances and even trying their hand at shadow puppetry with the historical epic Hindu story, the Mahābhārata. In addition to the Music and Theatre in Indonesia course, Sidia is teaching an introductory Balinese dance class and co-directing the Global Music Ensemble with McGraw. “The relationship between student and teacher is very different in Indonesia, compared with here,” said McGraw. “There is more hierarchy and often stricter discipline in the university classroom in Bali. In America, classes are often more discussion-based. Also, there’s very little learning in America that is rote memorization. That being said, the students here will have to adjust to a new method of learning, which means playing something back exactly the way the teacher played it.” While McGraw knows Sidia’s classes will mean adjustments for both the professor and his students, McGraw looks forward to the cultural exchange.

Item Type: Monograph (Documentation)
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Faculty > Performing Arts Faculty > Puppetry Department
Depositing User: Mrs Dwi Gunawati
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2012 04:01
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2012 02:46

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item