MONTCLAIR, N.J. — By the time they arrived in New Jersey after a week in the American West, the Children of Bali troupe were beginning to acquire extensive wardrobes of American T-shirts, advertising every place they'd been, some them gifts of their host schools. Their sponsor here, Montclair State College, with its internationally-minded new president and a curriculum aimed at interculturalism, had arranged a morning at two schools in the vicinity.
Presiding over most of the lecture-demonstrations was I Made Bandem, cultural ambassador par excellence. Dancer, scholar, teacher, and artistic adviser to the Children of Bali, Dr. Bandem is director of the National Performing Arts College (STSI) in Denpasar, the capital of Bali, which organized this tour.
At Montclair's Northeast School, 4- to 11-year-olds filled the entire gym, and watched intently, often imitating the gestures of the dancers. After shortened versions of Baris and Legong (since half the group was at another school), Dr. Bandem taught the elements of Kecak, the famous Balinese monkey chant.
Across town at the Co-op School, a somewhat older group of children was showing the ``Bali kids'' clapping games, and the girls responded: ``Oh, we have one like that!'' Swasthi translated questions and answers: ``What do you like best about traveling?'' ``Disneyland!''
Later, while the teachers gave a dance class for about 30 earnest college girls, the children were led to the computer center and turned loose in a roomful of Macintoshes with a graphics program installed.
For an hour, with almost no instruction, they experimented, some scribbling their names, others creating beautiful designs.