In contrast to the salesrooms of the woodcarvers, those of the batik dyers in another village feel small, dark and cramped. In a couple of rooms hang the works of the master teachers. The pieces produced by their students hang in a third room. The students' work doesn't appeal to me--most of the works seem coarse and "modern." I see very few light and airy ones. I feel that paintings on delicate fabrics should capture that essence of their medium, just like those woodcarvers captured the essence from each piece of wood.

I spend my time studying the beautiful batiks of the masters. Batiks I can fit into my suitcase. But I have a terrible time choosing only three out of all the lovely hangings on display. Finally I force myself into a decision and buy three exquisite, light and airy, almost Japanesey in feeling. Batiks of birds and butterflies flitting about the flowers. Unfortunately, their jewel-like colors can never be displayed to full advantage, due to the nature of the dyes. Over time they'll fade if exposed to bright sunlight. Maybe that's why it seems so dark in these rooms, I think, as I'm paying and watching a student carefully rolling my batiks so they don't wrinkle.

Students sit around in groups on verandas at the side and back of this building. Some of us watch them working. Carefully, they pour the melted wax from a large pot into the slender delicate copper styluses. These have a variety of spout sizes, some unbelievably tiny. The wax drizzles through the spout onto the fabric, forming the basis of the resist-type dyeing. We don't see anyone ready to do the dyeing. Most students seem to have just begun laying down the wax outlines of their designs.

This type of art requires a very steady hand for very careful control. Some students have their cloth stretched in hoops, but others seem to prefer drawing their designs while holding the fabric over their knees. I wonder how they keep from burning themselves on the hot wax. We attempt some conversation, but they don't seem to understand English.


Back at cooler Puri Saran, we hang around for a while watching a male dancer rehearsing some children in their dance routines. These kids seem to be around seven to ten years old. How beautifully graceful the little girls' movements. How "manly" and grown up the boys seem as they splay their toes outward while doing the "high stomp," holding their Kris swords "just so."

The training takes place on the paved stage in front of the huge stone gate in the outer courtyard. We learn that the children will be giving a performance here tonight. Quite a crowd has gathered to watch--us tourists, and a lot of Balinese, some of them the proud parents of the dancers.

The little one who steals the show, at least for us, is only a toddler about one and a half years old. Although still in diapers, this precious little girl watches the older children with rapt attention and emulates as many of their movements as possible. She's almost flawless with her upper body coordination, arms and head swaying much more gracefully than we adults had done the other day. She hasn't yet tried the leg movements, as it's all she can do just to stay balanced in one spot. I'd love to tape her little dance, but don't have the minicam with me. "Be prepared" I'm not!

Joan and I head back to Puri Saraswati. We have more rolls of film to be developed, so we take them across the road. Then we sup at our favorite Lotus Cafe. After supper we retrieve our pictures. We ooh and aah and sometimes groan over them.

This evening we're treated to a show at Puri Saran by the resident musicians and the children dancers. This time I just watch instead of taping. The kids look so grown-up in their colorful costumes. I really can't tell the difference between the expertise of the children and that of the adults. But then, I don't know what to look for. I just love the way those little boys go stomping around with their bare feet. They've even got the TOE movements down pat!

After the dance I would have loved to stay and chat with the parents and the kids, but it's been such a long full day. Joan agrees that her body--and mind--can't absorb any more. So we hit the sack.

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