Looking to the Future: Training a New Generation for Balinese Arja

Bethany J. Collier, Bucknell University


Steady changes in Bali’s social, cultural, and political landscapes impact the status of the traditional performing arts, and globalization’s potentially stifling effect on the Balinese arts remains a concern. This article examines how today’s teachers of the operatic dance-drama arja modify traditional pedagogical models as they work with young performers in the context of globalization and change. It considers some of the implications of these technology-based adaptations, explores the teachers’ ideological motivations, and argues that training teenagers to perform this challenging genre is an effective tactic for reinforcing their sense of Balinese identity.