I Wayan Dibia | Bali, Indonesia
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I Wayan Dibia, born in Singapadu, Gianyar, is an artist and scholar specializing in Balinese performing arts. Descended from a family of artists, he began learning Balinese dance and music when he was eight years, and has studied various forms of classical Balinese dance and drama from different masters on the island. From 1970 Wayan Dibia started to experiment with elements of traditional Balinese performing arts to create new works for contemporary audiences. He has choreographed numerous new dances and dramas, and his innovative art works have gained high recognition and have been featured in many important events and art festivals in Indonesia and overseas.
His formal education and training includes Conservatory of Balinese Performing Arts known as Konservatori Karawitan Indonesia in Denpasar, the Indonesia Dance Academy in Denpasar Bali and Yogyakarta (Central Java). He joined the faculty of the Indonesia Dance Academy (now Indonesia Institute of the Arts, ISI Denpasar) in 1974. He received grants from the Asian Cultural Council New York in 1982 to study for his MA in Dance and a Fulbright Hays scholarship in 1987 to pursue his Ph.D. in Southeast Asian Performing Arts, both at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Wayan Dibia has written a number of books and articles, in English and in Indonesian. Among his new books are: Kècak Balinese Vocal Chant and Balinese Dance, Music and Drama (with Rucina Balinger). As a performing artist he has toured in Asia, Europe, Australia, and the USA. From 1997 to 2002 he served as Director of STSI (now ISI) Denpasar. Simultaneously Wayan Dibia has recently opened a performing arts space (for performance and creativity), GEOKS, in his home village.
From 1992 to 2002 he has worked in collaboration with Keith Terry in California on cross-cultural projects to produce Body Tjak, utilizing elements of body music and Kècak. From Fall 2005 through Spring 2007, he was a visiting fellow of Balinese performing arts at The College of Holy Cross, Massachusetts, to teach Balinese music and dance. Wayan Dibia is also consultant to the Horniman Museum's exhibition entitled Bali: Dancing for The Gods.
Photo: Risman Marah