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Dancing for charity

A rich variety of performances are set for the Friends of the Arts' Annual benefit

Dancing for charity

For many years now, Friends of the Arts, a self-supporting non-profit foundation, has been nurturing and sparking interest in performing arts among young Thais throughout the Kingdom. One of their objectives is to raise funds to support charitable works in Thailand benefiting children and families. This year, their Annual Charity Performance is bigger and richer than ever. The programme is called a triple bill as there are three types of programmes, classical ballet, contemporary dance, and musical theatre.

"It's difficult to pinpoint which is the highlight, as each is its own highlight," says Vararom "Kru Tip" Patchimsawat, a committee member of the foundation and a major force behind this event.

"As a presenter, I have to make sure that the audience can relate to all these works. They need to understand the works presented to them, maybe not fully, but they should be inspired to think."

The programme will begin with a classical ballet performance of "Romeo and Juliet", which premiered in Calgary in 2005 and is choreographed by Jean Grand-Maitre and performed by Leigh Allardyce and Kelley McKinlay, the principal dancers of the Alberta Ballet, Canada's third largest dance company, which is now in its 40th season. "Especially for the fans of classical ballet, this is a very beautiful piece," adds Vararom.

"The second part of the programme is very interesting as it is the Thai choreographers' showcase, featuring four contemporary dance works of four different styles. First is May Yimsai's 'A Pilgrim', a very dynamic eight-minute solo piece on how a dancer discovers herself through dance."

May adds that this is "obviously a vision of how I perceive myself. The work emanates from a poem I wrote two years ago. At the time mentioned, I was quite lost in the turbulence of the river of life. I questioned the very path I chose to pursue. Miraculously, the answer came through a poem."

"The second piece is of a totally different flavour," says Vararom. "Komolkun, an all-male Thai contemporary dance company, will present 'Mahabharata'. The third is '3.3 Love Scenario: The Squall', directed, choreographed, and performed by Rangsima Boonsinsukh. If you look closely at the title, you'll see that this is a continual development from her previous pieces presented at the International Dance Day last year and this year. This is a very passionate solo piece."

"The Squall" is about the pain of unrequited love between a woman and a married man.

"Then, Pichet Klunchuen and the LifeWork Company will take the stage with their new work entitled 'Here and Now'. Initially, the 12-minute piece was for five dancers, Pichet included. Now he has recruited another 50 performers from a Teacher's College, to better convey his messages. Pichet says that 'Here and Now' is the true essence of theatre. In order to go further and to better reflect our society and our political situation at the moment, it's become 'Here and Now and Other Things'. And that's how the 50 extras will come in handy for this three-section piece."

If the second part doesn't sound like everyone's cup of tea, the last part of the triple bill is guaranteed to be light-hearted fun for all, ending the night on many entertaining notes. Excerpts from the acclaimed Broadway musical "Chicago" will be staged by Mark Rosolini, director of Satori Dance Company from Australia.

Apart from the ticket sales, donations will be kindly accepted at this charity event. The net profit from this special performance will be matched baht-by-baht by a donation from Manager Group. Then, this total fund will support the Movement Therapy Programme, in which 20 therapists will be taught in the next three years to help heal physically challenged people.

The Friends of the Arts' Annual Charity Performance starts at 7.30pm tomorrow at the Thailand Cultural Centre. Tickets are Bt2,500 (cocktail reception included), Bt1,500, Bt1,000, and Bt500 (Bt250 for students), available from Thaiticketmajor. For more information, call (02) 259 8861, e-mail friends.of.the.

arts.foundation@gmail.com or see www.friends-of-the-arts.info.

Pawit Mahasarinand  

The writer can be reached at pwit.m@chula.ac.th.

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