Balinese Performing Arts Troupe, Çudamani Will Bring Music, Dance and Tradition to W&M

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Çudamani is a 21-member music and dance ensemble from Bali that will visit and perform in Williamsburg Sept. 23. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Oscar Smith)

WILLIAMSBURG — William & Mary (W&M) will host an internationally renowned music and dance ensemble from Bali as part of the College’s Asian Centennial.

Balinese Performing Arts Troupe, Çudamani, is coming to Williamsburg as part of their September international mid-Atlantic tour.

“Çudamani: Gamelan Music and Dance of Bali” will share the music, dance and storytelling from Indonesia.

The 21-member ensemble hails from the village of Pengosekan, and is known for weaving dance, music and Balinese tradition.

Anne Rasmussen is a professor of Music/Ethnomusicology and program director for Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES).

As the Director of W&M Middle Eastern Music Ensemble for the last 25 years, her job is to bring worlds of music to her students and community, hosting numerous guest artists to perform in Williamsburg.

“This is a modern, up-to-date group,” Rasmussen said. “It’s a very virtuosic and visually dazzling kind of music and dance to watch.”  

Rasmussen said that this event is particularly special as she has a connection with Judy Mitoma, Producer and Tour Manager for Çudamani, and Professor Emerita from University of California, Los Angelas (UCLA)

Rasmussen and Francis Tanglao-Aguas, Professor of Theatre and Asian & Pacific Islander American Studies at W&M, worked with Mitoma during their time as UCLA students.

The arts organization, Çudamani, also holds a music and dance retreat in Bali where students from W&M have studied abroad.

Rasmussen said that the music of Çudamani brings something very unique.

“It’s immediately likeable, it’s fun, it’s dynamic, it’s interesting to watch,” she said. “And you realize there are so many areas of the world that have so many rich, artistic and cultural traditions and they’re just all out there waiting for our discovery and experience.”

Çudamani will be on campus Thursday, Sept. 23 at 9:30 a.m. in Rasmussen’s Worlds of Music class, and will do a open workshops and presentations from noon to 3 p.m. at Ewell Recital Hall, cultivating in a free public performance at Williamsburg Regional Library Theater, 515 Scotland St., Thursday night from 7:30pm – 9:30pm.

“It’s a very virtuosic and visually dazzling kind of music and dance to watch.” (WYDaily/Courtesy of Oscar Smith)

WRL Theatre has also waived the fee for the theatre.

Rasmussen said that among the themes of Çudamani’s visit is the effects of the pandemic on traditional arts.

Since we’ve been so separated from the world, the pandemic has really leveled the playing field in some ways in that we’ve all been affected,” she said. “The pandemic has been something that we all felt, and we’re not out of it yet, and so it’s interesting just to be able to commune with someone from halfway across the world.”

Çudamani’s visit is also part of the College’s series of events celebrating the Asian Centennial, which includes various film screenings and talks. 

Rasmussen said that the group will also visit and get to know Colonial Williamsburg on Friday, Sept. 24.

“If this peaks people’s curiosity to learn more about music and musicians in the world, and about Indonesia, and if the musicians and dancers have a nice time, then I’ll feel like mission accomplished,” Rasmussen said.

For more information about Çudamani’s visit to Williamsburg Sept. 23, visit here.

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