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EARTH DANCE – Novel, by Oka Rusmini

Her poems have been included (along with twelve other Balinese poets) in a book titled Bali Living in Two Worlds. OKA RUSMINI, born in 1967 in Jakarta, is a poet and novelist. She attends literary festivals both at home and abroad and has received numerous national awards. She currently lives in Denpasar (Bali), where she continues to use her writing focusing on the status of women in patriarchal culture. In 2003, her novel “Earth Dance” was named “The Honorees Writing Literature 2003” by the Ministry of Education, Indonesia.

This novel reveals that the beauty of a high-end chest has a price. Behind the long shiny hair and the golden complexion, there are jealousy and intrigue. Earth Dance is the story of four generations of Balinese women, a novel focusing on the conflicts, that arise between caste demands and personal desires. Narrated by a thirty-year-old Balinese woman, the novel shows Balinese women – as perceived by her mother, grandmother and females – motivated by two factors: the desire to be beautiful and the desire to find a high-chaste husband. The woman challenges her mother’s desires, marrying the man of her dreams, a common Indonesian. Thus, in an inversion of expectations, as shown in the novel by the images of women aspiring to liberation through a good marriage, the emancipation of the woman is implicitly characterized as a downward movement, transforming itself into the status of a common woman.

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