The Focused Intensity of Bali’s Young

Sometimes pictures are so much better than words!

Today was a big day at Dewi’s school. It was the end-of-the-year dance program. When you look at the photos below, keep in mind that Dewi is 5 and her classmates are pre-schoolers and Kindergarteners. None of them is over 6 years old. I didn’t know what to expect, but when I compared the accomplishments of these babies, with the things children in the West do at that age…hmmmm. And we are not talking a ritzy, private institution here. This is an example of a standard education in an average, Balinese school.


Long before a single foot meets the stage, the kids are at the salon for hair and makeup.  That takes an hour or two. Then the young performers are dressed in the brilliant costumes typical of each dance.  If they are first in the program, it’s soon over. But some of these children had to wait an additional three hours while dance after dance was performed by other classmates. Dewi’s was the last, the Kecak…a grand finale. What I’m getting at is the dedication, patience, and serious attention five and six-year-olds are able to muster when it comes to these time honored traditions.

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While their faces show the depth of concentration required to remember the sequences of the dances, their hands and feet execute complex moves.

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While some dance, others patiently wait. Here is lovely Tisna (on the right) with her friend.

P1030742Tisna’s mother is a professional Balinese dance artist and has travelled internationally with her group. She can be seen nightly at the Ubud Palace. Tisna is following in her mothers complicated footsteps.

No school program would be complete without awards. Dewi has modestly accepted her prize for being the most CONFIDENT. Funny, none of us were terribly surprised by that one!



This darling is fascinated…not by the dancing…but by me…a light-haired white woman who has invaded her world. When I ignored her, she reached a pudgy pointer finger out to touch my face. When I looked at her, she jumped into her mother’s lap.


And no matter where you go, doting parents are all the same. They’re taking pictures. Notice there’s not an old-fashioned camera in the bunch! They’re all on their iphones!

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nanci Froemming
    Jun 14, 2013 @ 09:04:46

    Once again you’ve allowed me to share in the joy and wonder of watching Dewi blossom in another culture electronically! Thank you for sharing this, Sherry!



  2. Foreign Islander
    Jun 15, 2013 @ 11:35:11

    She looks beautiful! She almost looks mixed.



  3. Diane Struble
    Jun 22, 2013 @ 01:20:02

    Lovely, talented children. Wonders of the world.



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