Robin Gilbert and Carlos Fittante in "Tigerlily and the Dragonfly". Photo: Julie Lemberger

Join the BALAM Dance Theatre Volunteer Team

Are you looking to develop new skills, fulfill community service requirements, undertake an internship, make a difference in underserved communities, or meet new people?  Then, join BALAM Dance Theatre and be a part of introducing people of all ages and backgrounds at the grassroots level to different cultures and time periods.  

Volunteer Opportunities

Community members can get involved in hands-on activities or participate virtually undertaking volunteer opportunitites in our Out & About touring series, concerts, programs, and events.  If you have a creative flair, design graphics and the layout for flyers, postcards, and other materials to announce upcoming events.  Lead fundraising projects or assist with bookkeeping and accounting.  Join the marketing team and write articles, press announcements, and other products for our programs.  Photograph or film rehearsals, performances, or productions.  Up-and-coming artists can receive training and hands-on experience on the stage.  Work behind-the scenes with staging, lighting, assembling props, and costuming.  

If you have an interest, skill or talent to share, tell us.  Sign up now as a BALAM volunteer.  For details, call 646-363-9183 or send an e-mail to info[at]

Bring BALAM Dance Theatre's Work to Underserved Communities

BALAM Dance Theatre's New York City season is underway with a free Ramayana workshop for the children of the Washington Heights Choir School, culminating with a free performance of A Multicultural Ramayana.  BALAM needs your help now to bring its extensive repertoire and Out & About Touring series to underserved communities in 2016.  Fees do not cover the costs of these projects.  

Join Us

Partner with BALAM Dance Theatre to complete the work on these and other upcoming projects.  Make a donation in any amount and help us transform the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds in these communities.  A supporter has agreed to donate $300 if BALAM can match that amount.  With your help, we can reach this goal!  Your donation of any amount will help to support the following:
  • $10-$15 per hour for rental of dance studio space
  • $35 per hour for a tailor or seamstress to alter BALAM's costumes
  • $400 the average cost of a new costume
  • $300 for rental space
  • ........and other costs.

Donate Now

An electronic donation made be made easily on this blog.  Click the Donate button found in the upper right-hand corner.  

Contributions may also be made with a check payable to BALAM Dance Theatre addressed to:

BALAM Dance Theatre
319 West 18th St., Apt. 4C
New York, NY 10011

Thank you for your support.  We look forward to seeing you at a BALAM performance, activity, or event this year.

BALAM Dance Theatre to Debut A Multicultural Ramayana: A Blending of Balinese and Spanish Cultures.

BALAM Dance Theatre premieres its new Out & About series program, A Multicultural Ramayana, a performance of a beloved Hindu myth, featuring Balinese fusion and Spanish dances performed to live Indonesian gamelan music.  The performance will be presented at The Pied Piper Children's Theatre of NYC & Delphi Theatre The Community Theatre Outreach Ministry of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church located at 20 Cumming Street in New York City on Friday, April 15 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  The family-friendly program is free and open to the public.
BALAM Dance Theatre's Ramayana. Photo Credit: Neil Sapienza

Good Versus Evil

The story of the Ramayana presents a narrative of good versus evil between archetypal characters with good triumphing and restoring the balance of order between cosmic forces of creation and destruction.   
"This new rendition of BALAM Dance Theatre's signature work of the story ballet inspired by the Hindu epic, Ramayana: Abduction of Sita, reveals with greater clarity one of its deeper themes, a call for unity and peace.  Presenting work that express a message of inclusion and forgiveness is particularly poignant," said Carlos Fittante, Artistic Director, BALAM Dance Theatre.

The New York City-based company offers a new vision of contemporary dance by combining ballet, modern and diverse cultural dance styles from around the world and historic periods with Balinese theatre.  This latest program from BALAM’s community Out & About series features the company’s Artistic Director Carlos Fittante as Rama and performer Toshinori Hamada as Rahwana.  Yumiko Niimi returns to the company to perform the role of Princess Sita.  Boonyarith Pankamdech, a specialist in Martha Graham Contemporary Dance Technique, joins as Hanuman-The Monkey King. 

Flamenco Stand-Up Comedian 

BALAM's resident actor Inma Heredia, the world's first and only flamenco stand-up comedian, will perform La Chispa de Andalucia (The Spark of Andalusia).  She will tell the story in English and Spanish and offer dramatic narration interspersed throughout the dance and music segments. 

Inma Heredia

"I am happy to bring the heart and warmth of Latin culture to BALAM's multicultural program!" stated Heredia.

Barbara Romero, BALAM’s Spanish Escuela Bolera dance specialist, debuts as the Golden Deer.  Her piece will utilize a 19th century Spanish escuela bolera dance movement, while playing castanets performed to the live gamelan music.  

Gamelan Son of Lion will perform live an original gamelan score of vibrant Indonesian music.  The New York City based
instrumental ensemble specializes in contemporary pieces written for the instruments of the Javanese gamelan.   
Gamelan Son of Lion

The costumes, designed by the company's late founding director Islene Pinder, were created in Bali and are variations on traditional Balinese dance costumes.  The props used in the ballet were handcrafted in Bali and suggest the forest of Alengka, where, according to the Ramayana myth, the story unfolds.  The movement styles utilized in the fusion ballet blend Balinese, ballet, modern, Baroque, and karate movement, reflecting the dance skills of the BALAM company members. 

The show will include an audience participation segment and a question and answer period.  Limited seating is available.  For further information, call BALAM Dance Theatre at 646-361-9183 or send an email to

A Multicultural Ramayana is made possible in part with public funds from the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

2016 Calendar (still forming)

Sunday, January 10 at 2 p.m. Free.
Myths, Stars, and Legends
Haverstraw King's Daughters Public Library
10 West Ramapo Road
Garnerville, New York 10923

Thursday, January 28, 1:15-1:50 p.m. Free.
Sprezzatura New York Style
Chapel of St. Bartholomew’s Church, 325 Park Avenue at East 50th Street, New York City.
A Gotham Early Music Scene's (GEMS) presentation

Thursday, February 4, 4:30-6:10 p.m. (Closed to the public.)
Balinese dance masterclass
New York University-Gallatin School of Individualized Study
1 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003

Tuesday, February 23, 4:30-6:00 p.m. (Closed to the public)
Baroque dance masterclass
Parsons New School 
Fashion Studies Program
66 5th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Thursday, March 24, 2:00-2:20 p.m.
Library Circuit Audition
Middletown, New York

Tuesday, April 12, 7:30 p.m. $20
Dances of the Baroque Era
Carlos Fittante, Caroline Copeland, Alexis Silver, and Andrew Trego
Juilliard 415 Orchestra and the Juilliard Dancers
Alice Tully Hall
1941 Broadway, New York, NY 10023
Tickets $20. Go to the Juilliard Website

Friday, April 15, 6:00 p.m. FREE
A Multicultural Ramayana 
BALAM performs with
Gamelan Son of Lion

The Pied Piper Children's Theatre of NYC
The Community Theatre Ministry of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Inwood, 20 Cumming Street, New York, NY 10034.  Open to the public.

Saturday, April 16, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 17, 4:30p.m.
Jump on the Dance Wagon
Odissi-Balinese-modern dance fusion by Katherine Posin with Odissi dancer Mala Desai and Carlos Fittante
The Ailey Citigroup Theater
405 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019
Tickets: $15-$30

Wednesday, April 20, 7:00 p.m. FREE
Baroque dance masterclass
Room 351, Aaron Copland School of Music
Queens College

65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing, NY 11367

Artist Spotlight: Nani Devi

Nani Devi, BALAM Dance Theatre's Resident Balinese Artist, teaches classical Balinese dance lessons for the company, as well as those from the Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Sulawesi.   Born in Bali, Indonesia, Ms. Devi began dancing at the early age of ten in the village of Tabanan. 

Nani Devi. Photo Credit: Julie Lemberger
Noted for dancing with a natural grace and  sweet expression, she was selected by the  Indonesian government to perform in the  palaces of Bali for visiting heads of  state.  She has performed in Russia, Japan,  China, Thailand, the Philippines, and the  United States among others.  Look for  announcements about her  upcoming  master classes that will be open  to the  public. 

BALAM Dance Theatre to Premiere Myths and Stars in Leonia

BALAM Dance Theatre is bringing its eclectic, diverse style to New Jersey again with the premiere of a new Out & About series program, Myths and Stars.  This exciting dance song and dance program features comedy and Balinese, ballet, Spanish escuela bolero, Baroque and fusion dance styles.  The performance will be presented at the Leonia Public Library in Leonia, New Jersey, located at 227 Fort Lee Road, on Sunday, November 15 from 2:00-3:00 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public. 

The New York City-based company is recognized for presenting a new vision of contemporary dance that combines ballet, modern and diverse cultural dance styles from around the world and historic periods with Balinese theatre.  This latest program from BALAM’s community service Out & About series features the company’s Artistic Director Carlos Fittante, Resident Guest Actor Inma Heredia, Resident Spanish Dance Specialist Barbara Romero, and guest dancer Yumiko Niimi debuts with the company.

"This diverse program showcases the creative and expressive talents of the company's performers.  BALAM will present and immerse the audience in the grandness and beauty of ancient myths and the glamour and amusing aspects of pop Spanish culture," said Fittante.

Flamenco Stand-Up Comedian To Perform

The entertaining and diverse program features the world's first flamenco stand-up comedian Inma Heredia performing excerpts from her acclaimed one-woman cabaret show, Divas de España.  On the stage, Heredia will transform and become these performers:  singer and actress Sara Montiel; singer, dancer and actress Lola Flores; and actress, comedian and flamenco guitarist Charo.

Two beloved myths will be represented through dance.  The first, Rama and Sita, is an excerpt from the Hindu epic Ramayana, danced in a Balinese fusion style, with Fittante and Niimi. 

"This piece is very enjoyable to perform because of the fusion of the Balinese and balletic styles.  The Balinese dance style is unlike anything that I have done before," explained Niimi. 

The second piece, Icarus, presents the Greek myth performed by Fittante in a Baroque contemporary dance movement style with three-foot hand carved Balinese wings.  Romero will spotlight luminary dancer Fanny Elssler, who originally performed the balletic solo La Cachucha in 1836, to round out the unique program. 

The family friendly show will include an audience participation segment.  The library is handicapped accessible.  Parking is available in the back of the building, in the municipal lot located on Broad Avenue, and on the streets around the library.  For further information, contact the Leonia Public Library at 201-592-5770.  

BALAM to Perform in the Scottish Highlands of Verismo Opera's Lucia di Lammermoor

BALAM Dance Theatre will grace the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera's stage in the company's new production of Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.   Under Verismo Opera's Artistic Director Lucine Amara, BALAM will perform in Donizetti's famous tragic opera on Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. at the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), located at 30 North Van Brunt Street in Englewood, New Jersey.

BALAM was selected to perform for a second time in a Verismo Opera production because of its extensive knowledge of period dancing and experience choreographing dance scenes in opera.  "The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera is delighted to have BALAM Dance Theatre on our stage again.  Their professionalism and dance talent cannot be overstated," said Stage Director Evelyn La Quaif.

This past April, BALAM's Artistic Director and Choreographer Carlos Fittante and Resident Spanish
Photo Credit: Marilyn Monsanto
Dance Specialist Barbara Romero debuted performing as gypsies in Verismo Opera's production of Georges Bizet's Carmen.  In the new production, BALAM will transport the audience to a completely different landscape, Scotland, performing as
courtiers invited to perform in the wedding party at the beginning of Act Two.           

Both organizations share an aesthetic bond.  "We are presenting the splendors of the classics for the entertainment and enrichment of the community.  Ms. Romero and I are delighted to dance once again for the discerning Verismo Opera audience.  They graciously received our performance in Carmen," said Fittante.

Understanding the Period

Barbara Romero and Carlos Fittante
Donizetti's decision to set Lucia di Lammermoor in Scotland was not a coincidence.  At the time, the land known for its hearty, fast growing heather was the rage in Europe.  "In 1832, the world's first toe ballet, La Sylphide featuring Marie Taglioni, came to the stage.   That was followed in 1835 with Donizetti's premiere of Lucia di Lammermoor.  Both works were inspired by a European fascination with Scotland and part of the Romantic Era," explained Fittante. 

Researching the movement vocabulary and the aesthetic conventions of the times, provided insight and inspiration to create the choreography for BALAM's new dance in Lucia di Lammermoor.  "As dancers brought to celebrate Lucia's betrothal, Ms. Romero and I selected buoyant period dance steps that compliment Gaetano Donizetti's musical fanfare incorporating hand holding, partnered dance figures," he explained.

Fittante added that the creative process also took into account the voluminous, heavy period costumes to be worn.  "Calculating the time needed for a velvet skirt and full-length petticoat to unfurl and settle with a flair was a fun part of the process.  Our costumes' weight provides elegant gravitas to the dance.  Other period dance touches include crafting the choreography to reflect Donizetti's music," he said.


Carlos Fittante

A choreographer and dance artist of remarkable diversity performing Ballet, Spanish Escuela Bolera,
Photo: Carlos Fittante  Photo Credit: Neil Sapienza
Baroque, Balinese and other movement styles, Fittante has performed throughout the world in Japan, Korea, Indonesia, England, Germany, Spain, Mexico, and the United States.
  As a Baroque choreographer and dancer, he has performed with several leading period companies such as the acclaimed Boston Early Music Festival, where he is a resident co-choreographer, and Apollo’s Fire, Cleveland’s period music orchestra. 

Fittante has also performed with the New York City Opera, Bilbao Opera, Four Nations Ensemble, Sinfonia New York, Teatro Lirico D.C., The Bishop’s Band, and others.  His new period choreography for George Frideric Handel's operas Almira and Acis and Galatea enjoyed critical praise.


Barbara Romero

Barbara Romero
Romero has studied a variety of dance forms, including ballet, modern, flamenco, escuela bolero, neoclassical, and jota, under a litany of master teachers in the United States and Spain.  For six seasons, Romero toured the United States with the Boston Flamenco Ballet under the direction of "El Naranjito" (Simon Blasco), where she choreographed and performed a new production annually.  Among her period work, she co-choreographed and performed with BALAM a suite of 16th century Spanish Renaissance dances at the Lladró Museum & Collectors Society in New York City.




Tickets may be purchased online, at bergenPAC's box office located at 30 North Van Brunt Street in Englewood, New Jersey, and by calling (201) 227-1030 or toll-free at 1-888-PACSHOW.  Senior citizens receive a 10% discount.  The company is offering a reduced rate of $10 on all tickets for children, ages 12 and under.  Special senior citizen and children’s discount ticket rates are available at the box office only and must be requested before the purchase.  For special rates for group sales only, call (201) 224-2809.  Discount tickets are not available for purchase online.

The Triumph of Dharma

BALAM Dance Theatre to Debut at International Dharma Conference

Don't miss BALAM Dance Theatre's debut at the Global Dharma Conference (GDC) in Hindu Students Council Presents Sounds of Harmony on Saturday, September 12.  The classical concert will be performed at the NJ Convention & Exposition Center, located at 97 Sunfield Avenue in Edison, New Jersey.  The doors open at 8:00 p.m.
Hanuman Credit: Neil Sapienza
BALAM will premiere this scintillating new piece, The Triumph of Dharma, a Balinese modern fusion dance inspired by the Hindu epic, Ramayana.  At the request of presenter Hindu Students Council (HSC), BALAM created the expanded new piece especially for this international event.  The performance features ten dancers wearing vibrant, colorful costumes and masks from BALAM Dance Theatre's extensive inventory and collaborator Coyote Dancers. 

"This project has allowed BALAM to explore the profound concept of Dharma. One of its meanings introduces the immutability of right thinking in an environment of chaotic polarity.  Creating a dance drama that reflects the underlying unity at the heart of these contrasting qualities has been an inspiration for the company," said Carlos Fittante, artistic director of BALAM Dance Theatre.

International Line-Up

The dancers performing in this new piece represent different cultural backgrounds. BALAM Resident Balinese Artist Nani Devi,
Photo Credit: Julie Lemberger
a celebrated performer from Bali who has toured and taught throughout the world, performs an excerpt of traditional Balinese dance to Gong Kebyar gamelan music and also appears as Trijata, Sita's friend and confidant. Dancer and Japanese Noh Theatre actor Toshinori Hamada takes to the stage as the evil demon king Rahwana.  

Fittante performs the role of Prince Rama.  He has studied extensively Balinese dance and toured several times in Bali.  Principal ballerina Robin Gilbert dances the role of Sita, Rama's wife, one she is performed many times.

The multi-talented Fittante, a Baroque dance specialist and co-choreographer with the prestigious Boston Early Music Festival, created the choreography for this new piece.  Hamada and Coyote Dancers' Maher Benham co-created the choreography for the fight scene.

Featured special guest artist Boonyarith Pankamdech from Coyote Dancers joins BALAM’s talented team.  Originally from Thailand, Pankamdech debuts with BALAM as the playful, fun Hanuman the Monkey King.  Five modern dancers from Coyote Dancer also perform in this new production.

Global Conference

Three thousand people from over 20 countries are expected to attend the three-day international conference that begins on Friday, September 11 and continues through Sunday, September 13.  The three day event attended by students, youth and others from over 20 countries and more than 50 universities and colleges.   The unique blend of thought provoking sessions and discussions on Hindu tradition and practices, blissful Yoga and meditation workshops, fun-filled dances, thrilling performances and other activities.

In addition to BALAM Dance Theatre, the concert presents these diverse classical musicians and performers: flute virtuoso Rakesh Chaurasia, mandolin virtuoso U Rajesh, Ghatam (Indian clay pot) Virtuoso Giridhar Udupa, composer and percussionist Rajeev Mahavir, Rachna Sarang Academy of Performing Arts, and Ashwin “AKS” Subramanian.

Tickets, ranging from $25 to $125, to attend the concert may be purchased online or call 732-857-0581 or 732-322-3895.  For more information about the concert and the conference, visit the conference's web site.