I joined Gamelan Dharma Swara the summer of 2017, seeking a musical outlet outside of my primary field of opera and vocal performance. I was looking for an ensemble that would challenge and strengthen my understanding of rhythm and time, and gamelan seemed like the perfect fit. Gamelan first peaked my curiosity when friends and colleagues in Western classical performance and ethnomusicology began playing with ensembles and could no longer imagine their careers without gamelan’s influence. Gamelan informs my stage presence across genres; you need to be “on” all the time, with your head up and out, while your hands and body stay focused on the instrument throughout the piece. Now when I sing, I find it’s easier to focus on acting and stage presence, rather than getting caught up in my vocal technique all the time, because that multi-tasking and focus translates. Inversely, my work as a vocalist informs the way I learn and play gamelan. I often find that singing each pattern helps me comprehend, retain, and memorize more quickly. I also find my experience in kathak dance and African dance helped prepare me, somewhat, for Balinese dance. This season, I am very excited for audiences to hear Komin’s original work. I am also looking forward to our 5-borough tour, and can't wait for our audience collaboration piece at National Sawdust!