On Thursday, December 23, 2004, a modest celebration of the new edition of John Coast's "Dancing Out of Bali" was held at the Agung Rai Museum in Ubud. Out of print for 50 years, the book is the personal account of a young Englishman, John Coast, then just recently freed from a Japanese prison camp and his efforts to promote Balinese dance and culture to the world. Mesmerized by the music and dance of Bali, he went on to organize a ground-breaking 1952 tour of Balinese dancers and musician to the U.S.A. and U.K.
The troupe appeared at the Winter Garden Theatre in London, the Fulton Theatre in New York, and major venues in Europe and the U.S.A.. The public reaction to the troupe was overwhelming. Ed Sullivan presented the dancers to a TV audience estimated at 30 million; and the dancers and musicians were feted by the likes of Walt Disney, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.
The troupe captured the minds and imagination of a war-weary word, not least for the captivating dance artistry of its three pre-teen dancing Legong troupe of Ni Gusti Raka, Anom, and Ni Oka.
At the Bali book launching rare kinescope films of the Bali troupe's performance on the Ed Sullivan program were presented Ė the first time after more than 50 years the surviving members actually were able to view their American performance.
Freezing two moments in time more than 50 years apart, the three Legong dancers posed for balidiscovery.com side by side in the same order as a picture of them made more than 50 years before with Indonesia's President Soekarno.
And indeed, the melody does linger on.
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