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Sleeping Beauty and Manohra Fantasy

Chiang Mai welcomes American Ambassador HE Ralph L. Boyce

Sleeping Beauty and Manohra Fantasy

Sandy Clark

More than one hundred years ago magic was created on stage when Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty was performed for the first time. Sleeping Beauty is still fascinating even for those who claim that ballet is boring. After staging the Nutcracker Suite last year, Chiangmai Ballet was back with a brilliant array of dancers, two new stories, new choreography and again simply stunning costumes and dancers.

Bluebird and Princess Florina (Tirolarn Kritykieme) during their final spectacular Grand Pas de Deux.

The first item was a musical dance play entitled Manohra Fantasy, an energetic contemporary rendition, combining western music with traditional southern Thai melodies. A story of true love that brings together Phra Suton, the Prince of Panchala and Manohra, the Kinnaree, a beautiful half human-half bird mythical creature.

When the devastated Prince went on his dangerous journey to search the forests for his true love where evil waited for him in form of tigers, lions and a fierce dragon, not only Manohra was under his spell, but so was the audience, and when he finally made the right choice to make his wish come true to select the real Manohra out of seven look-a-likes, the performance would not have looked out of place on any ballet stage in the world.

Prince Desire and his beautiful Aurora.

ML Preeyapun Sridhavat brought Chiang Mai dignitaries, parents, children and members of the diplomatic corps as a spellbound audience to this double bill production, including HSH. Prince Bhisadej Rajani, Dr. Chao Duanduang na Chiang Mai, Khunying Dr. Chao Ravipan Sucharikul, CG Katsuhiro Shinohara and CG Bea Camp.

The second item began with the singers from MS Studio and Maneenuch Samerasuit, the Asian Amateur Singing Award winner, and on stage the christening celebration of Aurora, the princess of the mythical kingdom of King Florestan XXIV. The Sleeping Beauty plot is well known, and in the hands of the local producer, it turned out to be a tale of skill, strength, poise, grace, and elegance. It was a colorful performance, with graceful pas de deux, the cutest children, innocent birthday gifts, lovely flowers, divine little lilac fairies and evil Carabosse’s members.

As co-chairperson Cheryl Penney put it, “It was a huge opportunity for young dancers to experience the excitement of being part of the gift of artistic story telling. They gained confidence in their own achievements in front of an audience and contributed towards helping the community in which they live.”

The proceeds will be donated to the orphanage housing tsunami victims, the Northern Mentally Retarded Welfare Center, under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen, the Thai Red Cross and other orphans from the tsunami disaster.

Relaxing between the shows.

Only a small part of the 350 participants at the Kad theatre.

Cats and Tigers on the loose.

Maneenuch Samerasuit, the Asian Amateur Singing Award winner, and the vocalists from MS Studio.

Every single dancer was artistic. (From left) King Florestan (Anucha Sumaman), the Queen (Karin Nicholas), kneeling in front the Lilac Fairy (Pareya Netrawichien), while the generous fairy (Rafaela Kraushaar), the gentle, the playful, the audacious and the carefree fairies stand behind.

Many little flowers.

When we are older we will also dance ‘en pointe’, for now we are just cute.

Many lilac fairies.

Can you see my Manohra? I can only see a huge forest.

Bees and Baby bees.

These were the ‘birthday gifts’ for Princess Aurora. They were received with cheers by the audience.

The grand finale together with producer and artistic director ML Preeyapun Sridhavat in the midst of Prince Desire (left) Peera Phanlukthaow and Bluebird, Tirolarn Krityakierne, a male dancer from Mahasarakam University.

Phra Suton, the Prince of Panchala and Manohra, the Kinnaree.

‘Queen’ Karin Nicholas (left), Ballet Mistress for the Chiang Mai Ballet Performing Group and dance teacher at APIS kindergarten, watches over the little ones.

The tigers from Manohra relaxing with other cast members.

Chiang Mai welcomes American Ambassador HE Ralph L. Boyce

Sandy Clark

The US Consulate Chiang Mai hosted a dinner reception to welcome the new U.S. Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce at the consul general’s residence last Thursday.

He is not a newcomer to South East Asia, and is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in June 2004, and sworn in as the United States Ambassador to Thailand on December 15.

Keith Wecker, headmaster of American Pacific International School with his wife, Heather Swabey and Kathleen Jardine.

Before this assignment, Ambassador Boyce served as ambassador to Indonesia, deputy assistant secretary for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, where his area of responsibility included Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

He was stationed twice before in Thailand, from August 1988 till August 1992 as political counselor in Bangkok and from October 1994 to August 1998, again in Bangkok, as deputy chief of mission.

(From left) Rosa and Steve Revels from the US Consulate community, British Council Director and Honorary British Consul Jon Glendinning, Lindy Santitharangkul, Kathleen Jardine, Heather Swabey and Wanphen Sakdatorn.

Ambassador Boyce was born February 1, 1952, in Washington, D.C., obtained a B.A. from George Washington University in 1974 and an M.P.A. from Princeton University in 1976. Apart from English, he speaks Persian, French, and Thai which was greatly appreciated by the Thai community present during the dinner reception at the U.S. consul general’s residence.

A Lanna Bai Sri Procession marked the special event. In the middle, Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce and Consul General Bea Camp.

As a special welcome tribute for Ambassador Boyce, a Lanna Bai Sri Procession took place, candle dancers from Chiang Mai cultural center performed and the official proceedings ended with a formal Lanna Blessing Ceremony. The guests gathered on the premises of the consulate general until late in the evening, and many were seen dancing off the calories gained from a superb northern dinner.

(From left) Dr. Ken Santitham, city clerk; Yukonthorn Santitham, Consul General (CG) Bea Camp, Suwat Tantipat governor of Chiang Mai, HE Ralph L. Boyce, Suwat Tanprawat the charming governor of Tak; Princess Chao Duangduan Na Chiangmai, Vice Governor Prinya Panthong and his wife, and the newly-elected president of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, Narong Tananuwat.