NI KETUT ARINI, Balinese Dance for Everybody

NI KETUT ARINI, Balinese Dance for Everybody

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She started to dance when she was seven years old. And she keeps on dancing. She shares her great skills by teaching dance to many students.

ITS–There are thousands of senior dancers in Bali. One of them is Ni Ketut Arini. She is one of the senior Balinese dancers who have many experiences. Arini understands that there is a great allure inside her soul for dancing. Since she was a little girl, she has been in love with Balinese dance. She recounts,”I saw my uncle, Wayan Rindi, a well known dancer, danced and taught many students to dance. I was so interested to be a dancer.” His uncle saw her talent and taught her to dance since she was seven years old.

Since then, Arini feels really connected to Balinese dance. When she went to school, she was appointed to dance for some events. In 1957, she joined a well known group named ‘Banjar Kayumas’. One day, a public figure of Karangasem royal family saw her dancing. She was invited to teach the grand children of Karangasem royal family. She recalls,”whereas in fact I was still a teenager. I was still a student of Junior High School.”

In 1960, Arini went to Kokar (Konservatori Karawitan) which was a high school for students who wanted to learn more about Balinese traditional arts. She had been a good dancer when she went to the school. For that reason, she occasionally taught her friends how to be a good dancer, especially when her teacher was absent. Arini says,”I kept on dancing and teaching. I have found my own method of teaching Balinese dance.”

Thanks to her dancing skill, Arini could teach at many places, even abroad. She recounts,”In 1965, I became an official teacher at Kokar. In the same year, I was invited to teach Balinese dance in Philippine, after I danced for the celebration of the Independence day of Indonesia at the Indonesian Embassy in Philippine. That was my first experience to teach abroad.”

In 1967, Arini got some students from USA, one of them is Rucina Ballinger. Afterwards, her students founded Balinese dance group named ‘Sekar Jaya’ in USA. She also taught some Japanese students. She says that nowadays, her students have been able to teach Balinese dance. She was sometimes invited to evaluate them. In 1986, Arini was invited to Canada for her performance at an expo in Vancouver.

Arini also got a chance to learn traditional Javanese dance. She learned the difference between Balinese and Javanese dance. She explains,”Javanese dance flows like water. When you perform Javanese dance, your body weight rests on your toes, while Balinese dancers rest their body weights on heels.” She says that she has some unique and hilarious experience when she performed Javanese dance a long time ago. She recounts,”I performed Jogja dance at Solo. Since Jogja and Solo dance is quite different yet those are the same Javanese. So people was surprised to see me, Balinese woman performed Jogja dance at Solo.”

Written by Henny Handayani

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