Chiang Mai Ballet Academy at the Kad Theatre
Performances of three spectacular ballets delight audience
Months of dedicated training and rehearsals by dancers of all ages, from the
tiny beginners to the fully developed young adults, the teachers, and the
Director of the Chiang Mai Ballet Academy Mom Luang Preeyapun Sridhavat drew
to a highly successful close on Sunday June 1 at the Kad Theatre in Kad Suan
Kaew. The performance, comprising three ballets of differing styles, was
held as a tribute to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 80th birthday.
Consequently, the first ballet, Kinnaree Waltz, choreographed by Jill Firth,
a well known UK choreographer and teacher, was set to subtly atmospheric
music composed by His Majesty and was dedicated to him.
pas-de deux from La Bayadere, Act 1, scene 3, danced by Peera Phanlukthao,
(Solor the Warrior), and Sorawee Thongkumkhoon, (Princess Gamzatti).
The “main attraction” of the evening, especially to the parents of the young
dancers who had crowded the theatre, was the Jazz/Modern dance ballet, Peter
Pan 2008, based on the famous childrens’ story by J.M Barrie, and specially
choreographed for the occasion by teachers at the Academy. The stars of this
narrative ballet were undoubtedly Amit Grinvald as Peter Pan, who gave a
touching interpretation of the magic boy who refuses to grow up, Shan del
Vecchio, who danced Captain Hook with abandon and obvious enjoyment, and the
amazing Megumi Nishimori as Tinkerbell, delighting the audience with her
brilliant technique and talent for interpretation. The winner of many
international dance prizes, she is surely headed for fame as a prima
ballerina in a major international dance company. Book Kitavahana, the
famous Thai classical singer, gave his time generously to perform as Mr.
Darling, delighting the audience with his voice and musicality. An absolute
joy were the massed students of the Academy, some as young as 5 years old,
dancing, fantastically costumes, as anything and everything from stars, bees
and butterflies to mermaids, racoons and crocodiles! The energy shown by the
entire cast, (particularly as it was the second performance that day), in
what proved to be a long ballet with many different scenes, amazed the
audience. Chiang Mai’s own Pim Kemasingki, ably aided by John Wright, gave a
beautifully spoken bi-lingual explanatory commentary for those in the
audience who were not familiar with the tale itself.
(Amit Grinvald), and Captain Hook, (Shan del Vecchio), in their final duel,
with the crocodile lurking to the right of the ship.
The final ballet was selected from the famous classical Russian ballet based
on an Indian theme, “La Bayadere”, with Act 1 scene 3 being the chosen
section. Choreographed by Marius Petipa, and first performed at the
Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg on January 23, 1877, it is, in a sense,
a “lost” ballet in its entirety, with only the 3rd act being performed
nowadays with its original Petipa choreography. Wonderfully colourful, with
a high standard of dancing, beautiful costumes, and outstanding performances
by Sorawee Thongkumkoon as Princess Gamzatti, Ramitta Khetphummuang as
Nikiya the temple dancer, and Peera Phanlukthao as Solor, the warrior, whose
splendid performance which was anticipated by his dancing in the first
ballet, Kinnaree Waltz. Anucha Sumaman gave an outstanding performance as
the Hindu Bronze Idol, delighting everyone with his flexibility and
All in all, a superb evening, the second of the two performances that day,
of which Mom Luang Preeyapun and her staff must be exceptionally pleased, as
were the audience! The beneficiaries from the performance will be the Red
Cross in Chiang Mai, and the Northern Mentally Retarded Peoples’ Welfare
Centre, under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen of Thailand.
The Hindu Bronze Idol, danced brilliantly by
A scene from the Jazz/Modern ballet Peter Pan
2008, showing Amit Grinvald as Peter and Megumi Nishimori as Tinkerbell.
First public performance by the Spirit House Singers
A concert of madrigals and Renaissance music
‘Here will we sit and let the sounds of music creep in our ears. Soft
stillness and the night become the touches of sweet harmony.’ - William
pictured here with his partner Wanchai, outside his amazing restaurant
and bar, the Spirit House.
On Saturday, May 31, the newly formed Spirit House Singers gave their
inaugural concert of madrigals and Renaissance music at the Spirit House
Restaurant and Bar on Soi Vienbua off Chotana Road. The venue itself has
a magical air; on stepping inside one is greeted with walls hung with
colourful traditional fabrics and seating areas separated by cabinets
and tables piled with Thai and Lanna antique boxes, figures, ceramics,
Buddhas, textiles and all manner of decorative arts. The backdrop to the
stage itself is a huge carved wood spirit house. Beaded six feet long
lampshades hang from the ceiling, casting a soft glow over the
spectacular interior. The magic continues in the garden, with a ruined
Chedi surrounded by trees shadowing the tables.
The idea for the Spirit House Singers started last November, when David
Crisp, having performed in and directed early music in the UK, met up
with Steve and Wanchai, the owners of the Spirit House. Steve, a
classical music fanatic, was in the antiques business for 13 years,
which, of course, explains the stunning and original décor of the place.
Under David’s direction, the Spirit House Singers started with 2 or 3
people and very quickly grew into a large band of “merry men & women” -
many of whom were already in the Chiang Mai Choral Society - having fun
singing “something a little bit different”.
After a period of rehearsal, their first public performance took place
to a full house. Their first offering, ‘Summer is i’cumin’ in’, an Olde
English Round, was quickly followed by “Though Philomela lost her love”
by Thomas Morley. The concert ran for over an hour, delighting the
audience with music including “a capella” (unaccompanied) singing and
solo instrumental interludes. David Crisp explained some of the more
obscure historical references, including the legendary origin of the
phrase “Swan Song”, in which a swan sings only once during its lifetime
- shortly before its death! As many of the singers were associated with
FERC, the Foundation for the Education of Rural Children, it seemed
appropriate there was a collection made for this worthwhile charity. For
those who were unable to come to the restaurant, there was also a repeat
performance at the Gallery of the Chiang Mai University Art Museum on
Sunday, June 1.
Anyone wishing to join this merry bunch of singers should be interested
in “a capella” singing and can contact David on 085 723 1723, and anyone
who wants to enjoy a meal or a night out at a unique restaurant should
certainly visit the Spirit House!
The Spirit House Singers enchant the
Birthday boy Somsak goes Lanna
Somsak Chalachol, hairstylist to the stars, celebrates in Chiang Mai
It had to be THE birthday party of the year, the party not to be
missed! After celebrating previous birthdays including ‘X
Diamond Collection 2004’, Somsak Chalachol, hairstylist to the
stars, chose the Ratilanna Riverside Hotel in Chiang Mai to
celebrate his birthday on June 1. A three-times winner of the
prestigious King’s Cup, Somsak represented the Hair Stylists’
Association of Thailand Queen’s Cup in the World Hairstyling
contest for four consecutive years, an unprecedented honour.
birthday boy arrives!
This year’s chosen theme for the party was “The Ultimate Lanna
Elegance Style”. JoJo, from the Public Relations & Marketing’s
Association of Northern Thailand, was picked to arrange the
event. Celebrities from Bangkok joined our very own HiSos from
Chiang Mai, attended by a large crowd of very attentive
paparazzi from both cities.
The invited guests began to arrive after 6:30 pm, and included
Dr George Sioris, the US Consul General Michael Morrow, Anchalee
Kalmapijit, and Darunee Krittabunya. All settled into the sala
beside the river, and spent time admiring each others’ amazing
costumes and stunning outfits. Partygoers were invited to pose
with a selection of scantily-clad Thai guys, and received a
photograph as a memo of that delightful experience! A number of
guests, it has to be said, repeated said experience more than
once…! Tannanon Willson was almost certainly responsible for
many of the fabulous outfits, along with Wit from Hairpro -
whose salons must have been busy all day. ‘Super Richie’ was the
MC for the evening, which included a continuous buffet of Thai
specialities on the river lawn throughout the party, to ensure
that no-one went hungry - or thirsty!
Chao Duangduan na Chiengmai with Darunee Krittabunya.
Honoured guest, Dr Chao Duangduan na Chiengmai arrived at 8 pm,
signifying that the show was about to begin, followed by the
Grand Entrance to end all grand entrances - the birthday boy
himself, arriving by boat accompanied by fireworks, and carried
by hunky young Thai guys in procession with exquisite Thai
beauties to the reception area. The setting was pure Lanna - as
one would imagine in ancient times. Somsak was then received by
Dr Chao Duangduan na Chiengmai, who performed the ‘siasim’
blessing ceremony and tied the strings around his wrist.
dressed up with a great place to go are Anchalee Kalmapijit,
Esther Ting and Shannon Morrow.
After everyone had their photographs taken, the spectacular
entertainment began, featuring the Sultraporn Drag Queen Show,
followed by a Karaoke session and free dancing. Guests even came
from other parties, (Pim and John Wright were the MCs at the
Ballet at Kad Suan Kaew - but popped in - not wanting to miss
out!). Later in the night, a huge birthday cake was carried in
by four young men, to yet more clinking of glasses. The night
will surely be remembered for many years to come by those
fortunate enough to have been invited. A number of words spring
to mind - fabulous, ostentatious, jaw-dropping; and definitely a
never to be outdone night of a hundred stars.
If you are planning a special event - why not invite
JoJo, who organised the party, with
Khun Noi and Sumale Phunkaew.
Ambassador and Mrs Sioris (centre)
posing for the paparazzi.