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The “little legong dancers” of Bali: The Rise of a Child Star in Indonesian Dance Theater

  • Laura Noszlopy
Chapter
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Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)

Abstract

In 1952, 12-year-old Raka Rasmini and her friends Anom and Oka became the stars of the fêted Dancers of Bali tour of Broadway and the West End, which had been initiated and produced as a cultural and personal mission by the English impresario John Coast, with the support of Indonesia’s first president, Soekarno. The “little legong dancers” came from the traditional Balinese village of Peliatan, near Ubud in central Bali. Although Bali’s exotic allure has been well documented over the years, these three young girls, and Raka Rasmini in particular, stole the limelight. While the highly skilled 40-strong gamelan orchestra and the innovative revue performance proved popular with audiences in Europe and North America, theater reviewers focused on the charisma of the girls. Audiences were amazed at the professionalism, skill, and stamina of the child performers who, despite their diminutive stature and clear bemusement at being so far from home, appeared on stage unfaltering and perfect.

Keywords

World Tour Holy Water High Heeled Shoe Empire State Building Dance Training 
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Notes

  1. 2.
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  2. John Coast, first published as Dancers of Bali (New York: Putnam, 1953).Google Scholar
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    For analysis of the distinctions between different types of performance in Bali, seeWalter Spies and Beryl de Zoete, Dance and Drama in Bali (Singapore: Periplus Editions, 2002),Google Scholar
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    John Coast, Railroad of Death (London: Hyperion Press, 1946).Google Scholar
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    For a historically accurate and detailed account of this period, see John Coast, Recruit to Revolution: Adventure and Politics in Indonesia (London: Christophers, 1952).Google Scholar
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    See Colin McPhee, A House in Bali (Singapore: Periplus Editions, 2000).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Gillian Arrighi and Victor Emeljanow 2014

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  • Laura Noszlopy

There are no affiliations available

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