Dance that turned heads
Sunday, March 22 saw the official opening of Bangkok’s friends
of the arts foundation’s International Dance Festival, sponsored by Chiang
Mai’s municipality. Chiang Mai’s mayor Dr Duentemduang na Chiengmai presided
over the welcoming ceremony held at the Three Kings’ Monument prior to the
first performance, and hosted a cocktail party afterwards in the Art
Museum’s courtyard for the artists and the foundation’s supporters. The
initial performance, aimed at the general public, comprised a ballet in
contemporary style, Touch, given by the Oplas Theatre from Italy, and
a programme by Janice Martin from the USA, a famous and multi-talented
performer with a very unusual slant towards her areas of expertise.
Martin gets into the most unique positions whilst playing her instruments.
Touch, an exploration through contemporary dance of the manner in which
humans relate by touch, involved 5 dancers, 4 male and 1 female. The first
five sections focused on ‘getting in touch,’ ‘how we touch,’ ‘how we touch
ourselves,’ ‘how we touch others,’ and ‘how we become untouchable.’ The
emotionally charged choreography, sometimes erotic and sensual and sometimes
angry, required the dancers to face up to their feelings, skin to skin, eyes
to eyes and heart to heart. The second part saw the dancers performing
acrobatics on stilts, with superb strength, agility and timing, for which
skills Oplas Theatre is justifiably renowned. A huge audience gathered to
watch the free performance, all highly appreciative, with one, Milt Owens,
remarking that, ‘Touch was exceptional; the dancers’ interpretation of the
physical intimacies between people, whether male/female or male/male, was
stirring and very powerful, and their dance on stilts was a wonder to
behold. All the dancers were excellent, and I was impressed with the
by OPLAS Danza.
Touch was followed by a unique performance given by Janice Martin,
accompanied by a Thai drummer. An accomplished violinist, singer, dancer and
acrobat, she amazed and thrilled the audience with her skills, and her
ability to assume extraordinary yoga-based positions while still playing her
Three days later, on March 25, the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Devi hosted a
performance of The Last Silver Crane, danced by soloists Olivier
Vinklair and May Yimsai and a small company. Based on the legend of the
Silver Crane, which brings back humanity and the balance of nature to both
the earth and the universe, the dance was performed in an ideal environment
surrounded by trees, in which, as part of the performance, Janice Martin
amazed the audience with her aerial acrobatics. A mention should be made of
Chulachart Arunyanak and Phatarakij Phumpipat’s masculine dance styles, in a
performance which seemed very Cirque du Soleil in its improvisatory nature
and its blend of ‘East meets West’ modernity and a legend as old as time.
The International Dance Festival also included several workshops and master
classes on creative movement, contemporary dance, percussion and
choreography as well as another performance at Airport Plaza, reaching out
to as many people as possible during the 4-day event.
For more information look up http://friends-of-the-arts.info/.
Lanna fashion and culture celebrated at Bangkok charity event
Mom Luang Preeyapun, Chao Dr.
Duangduan na Chiengmai, Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon, Wuttipong Arayatumsopon,
Frank Sethis and other guests,
all beautifully dressed for the occasion.
A Lanna Fashion Show and charity event was held recently in Bangkok,
in aid of Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali’s foundation in support or
children who have fallen victim to HIV/AIDS. The event was chaired by the
Princess herself. Other guests of honour, several of whom were from Chiang
Mai, included Chao Dr. Duangduan na Chiengmai, president of the Chiang Mai
Chamber of Culture, Chiang Mai University’s Assistant Professor Songsak
Wattanakul and Mom Luang Preeyapun Srithawat, director of the Chiang Mai
Ballet Academy. The event was sponsored by Beauty Gems, Beeraya Productions,
H1 Organizers, Tilleke & Gibbins Clothes, Srisanpanmai, Siam Technical
College and Thailandfreunde e.V. and was an important representation of
Chiang Mai’s Lanna culture and arts.
Before the fashion show and entertainments began, Asst. Prof. Songsak
presented a historical background of Lanna fashion and its manufacture, in
both former and modern times. An exhibition had been set up, with many
booths showing typical and beautiful examples of clothes and accessories,
both for admiration and for purchase.
The Siam Technical College presented the spectacular traditional Thai dance
and fashion show, together with a traditional Thai orchestra and singers.
Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali was presented with many gifts and
donations to her foundation. In return, she presented medals of honour to 40
of those in the audience who had helped to arrange the event, or had given
donations to her foundation, including Mom Luang Preeyapun, Thailandfreunde
e.V.’s president Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon, Wuttipong Arayatumsopon,
president of Thailandfreunde Thailand (which had donated 200,000 baht) and
members of the board, including Frank Sethi of Fashion King.
Mayoral initiative aids the disabled
Chiang Mai’s mayor Dr Duentemduang na Chiang Mai and representatives
of the Municipal Authority recently visited Boonpan Vichienchom at Chiang
Mai Municipality Hospital. Boonpan is receiving care under the ‘Railway
Community Project,’ which is committed to providing home health care,
wheelchairs and up to 20,000 comfortable beds to disabled patients.
The mayor explained that the project, since last September, is also able to
provide homecare visitors to those in need of such services. Chatpong
Chensuwankul, director of Chiang Mai Municipality Hospital, added that the
aim of the project is to introduce follow-up visits, to spread knowledge
about caring for the disabled in the home environment and to inform about
modification of the home in accordance with the patient’s requirements, thus
reducing the need for frequent hospital visits.
The project is looking for donations of necessary equipment such as beds,
wheel chairs and suction machines. Anyone able to help as asked to contact
the hospital on 053-223-215 or 053-282-380.
‘Hand to Paw’
New local initiative joins Prem School and Care for Dogs
Prem International School has announced a new community outreach
project in which it will be joined by Care for Dogs, and are asking for
compassionate dog-loving students who will help care for dogs currently
living in Nong Pla Mun village’s temple. It is hoped that the project will
also strengthen ties between the school and its immediate village
At present, 10 dogs are living permanently at the local temple. Volunteers
will each be given the responsibility of total care for one dog, including
giving vaccinations, organising spaying/neutering to prevent unwanted
pregnancies, bathing, fundraising, basic doggy healthcare and training. Most
importantly, lots of love and cuddles need to be given, something these
young dogs have never experienced.
Care for Dogs is generously sponsoring the cost of the vaccinations, the
spaying/neutering and the post-operative recovery time. Ajarns Sandy and Joy
Huss will be supervising all ‘Hands to Paws’ activities at the temple, and
would like to have all the dogs vaccinated against canine parvovirus,
distemper and rabies by the end of this month. Following that, the 8 female
dogs at present resident will be spayed. As George Bernard Shaw noted, ‘The
worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be
indifferent to them. That’s the essence of inhumanity.’ He was right, of
For more information, to be included on the mailing list or to volunteer for
this exciting new project, please email Sandy at [email protected] .org.
Once the project is officially underway all interested students will be
advised of upcoming events.
‘Seussical’ – another
musical success for CMIS
The ‘Seussical’ cast from the
Chiang Mai International School.
The Kad Theatre came into its own again last weekend, when the
Chiang Mai International School (CMIS) mounted another ambitious production
Seussical. After the great success last year of their Sondheim
musical Into the Woods, they were once again in ‘fairy tale ‘ land.
Seussical, inspired by Dr. Seuss and co-conceived originally by Eric
Idle, with music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, is a lighter
and more accessible performance vehicle than Sondheim’s masterpiece,
although there are a few dark moments.
young performers carried off the songs and dances with aplomb.
The School’s production was brisk and lively enough to keep the audience of
very young children and adults entertained without an interval, telling its
tale of ‘Who,’ the smallest planet in the sky. The moral is straightforward.
One doesn’t have to be big to be beautiful, nor should one warrant
persecution because of ones smallness. As it asks for tolerance, the story,
centered around an elephant and a young boy, suggests that sometimes that
quality is in short supply in the world. Even in Chiang Mai, we may all be
able to agree with that sentiment.
The large stage, at the sadly underused Kad Theatre, was full of vitality
from the outset and the good humour of the cast made the best of the musical
score. The young cast carried the songs and dances along and made the best
of the complicated narrative, which possibly meant more to the children
present than to many adults. Chi Kelly from the Saturday matinee’s audience,
there with her husband Scott and daughter Jasmine, thought the whole
production was very professional and that Gertrude, played by Sally Kwon,
was especially delightful. Ronny Lavin, another listener, drew attention to
Mayzie, played by Coco Koeooder, whom, Ronny thought, had given a ‘mature
beyond her years’ performance.
Scene and costume changes were rapid and efficiently managed. Any lack of
experience from the school-age cast was more than compensated for by their
enthusiasm. Outstanding among many talents was Chakree Matayananat as the
put upon Horton the elephant. Chakree’s engaging personality and attractive
voice gave the wistful role special emphasis. Joseph Newport, as the
‘thinker’ Jo Jo, was also bright and appealing as the young man who rebels
against war. The entire performance was very much a team effort, with no-one
letting the side down.
The actors, the technical crew and the senior staff were all deserving of
the enthusiastic applause from the audience at each of the four shows. Three
of the ‘grown ups’ involved, choreographer Sallyanne Wichai, technical
director Suwannee Eubank and director and musical director Ruthanne Pilton
should surely be feeling very proud of their achievements.
The Chiang Mai Mail would like to thank Ruthanne, who is expected to
move on to pastures new in the near future, for her hard work for the
community and the students, and wish her all the best for the future.
An ‘Elite’ crowd
at the Dalaabaa for company launch party
Shannon and Michael Morrow
with Patrick and Kay Mulcahy,
Dararat and George Sioris.
A launch party for Elite Property Company was held recently in the
glamorous setting of Dalaabaa restaurant. The amiable Patrick Mulcahy and
his lovely wife Krongkwan (Kay) invited over 50 guests to join in the
celebrations on their special occasion.
Edwards, Chiang Mai Mail, with Patrick Mulcahy, Chas and Rachael.
British born Irishman Patrick and his wife Kay moved to Chiang Mai 3 years
ago and have spent those years researching the market and preparing for the
launch of their real estate company. According to Patrick, ‘The city is
moving upmarket, creating a greater demand for quality products,
particularly in the service sector. It is still difficult to find good
service in many aspects of life in Chiang Mai. We hope to provide this in
the real estate sector. Elite Property will cover both buying and renting
property, business and private, buildings and land. Our intention is to be
selective in the quality of properties we handle.’
During the party, guests enjoyed fine wine and delicious food, with music
provided throughout by an expert DJ, who soon had ‘les girls,’ including
Shannon Morrow, up and dancing! The majority of the male guests, however,
seemed more than content just to sit and watch. Either way, it was a very
Elite Property can be contacted on www.eliteproperty .co.th or 084 378 4804.
Lots of chat and lots of food – the Expat Ladies’ lunch
The monthly Expat Ladies’ Lunch group met last week in the congenial
and familiar surroundings of the Empress Hotel’s buffet, where a private
room had been booked for the smaller than usual group. Nine ladies, perhaps
the pollution had scared off the rest, were present and thoroughly enjoyed
the rare opportunity to sit and talk with no distractions. Great fun! So
much so that hotel staff were vacuuming the room and getting ready for the
dinner servings by the time the group left!
For next month’s event, to be held on April 28, the Grandview Hotel on the
Superhighway is the selected venue, providing a pleasant dining area with
lots of multi-sized and very cute white ceramic elephants as decoration, and
a good buffet.