I've had just enough time to... see the budding of a star
Taken outside the Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali
On a leisurely stroll one morning passing by the Ubud Palace, I spied a group of young boys practicing their craft. To the tempo of imaginary music that only they themselves heard, they stomped and jerked violently. The sequence was not a graceful flow but a series of sudden violent movements and abrupt stops. The expressions on their faces were deadly serious and exaggerated as they played the characters of their act.
But it is more than an act. It is their religion and they are playing the Gods. They are not just performing a dance, they are re-telling the story of creation and they are honoring their Gods in the recreating of the tale. This went deeper than the passion for their craft. It is their faith and they are living it.
I suspect that it will be many years before these boys ever get the chance to perform before an audience. Meanwhile, they trained every day and showed a dedication stronger than any professional athlete. And what drove them is not fame, adulation or monetary rewards. It is their culture, their beliefs and it is beautiful to watch.
But even among them, one particular boy stood out. You will have picked him up just by looking at the photo. His divine expression, the sharpness of his moves and his total immersion into his character is mesmerizing. His talent is undeniable. He is the future star of the play. I hope one day to be able to return to Bali and watched a performance and recognized him there.