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 Post subject: Two noted Thai dancers featured in Ramakien: A Rak Opera
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:37 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 6883
Location: El Granada, CA, USA

July 28 and 29 at 8 pm; July 30 at 2 pm, LaGuardia Concert Hall, Amsterdam Ave. at
65th Street

ABT corps de ballet dancer Sawawanee Tanatanit will dance the role of Princess Sita
in RAMAKIEN: A RAK OPERA, ("Rak" is "Love" in Thai) the "rock opera" based on the
Thai national epic, The Ramakien. The world premiere work, featuring some of
Thailand's hottest rock and pop musicians, noted actors, and visual artists, has
choreography by Pichet Klunchun, a leading Thai classical dance artist, as well as a
post-modern choreographer of international note. Ramakien: A Rak Opera, blending
modern elements with traditional ones, will focus on one section of the epic work
that Thailand adopted from the Ramayana -- the section entitled "The Floating
Princess." Klunchun will also dance the role of the Demon/Ogress Benjakai (the
"Floating Princess" of the title) who impersonates Princess Sita.


Pichet Klunchun, choreographer of Ramakien: A Rak Opera, is perhaps Thailand's sole
post-modern choreographer creating dance on an international scale. His dances, some
performed nude, others performed in full Khon costume, bridge traditional classical
language with an Asian contemporary sensibility, while keeping the heart and wisdom
of the convention. Mr. Klunchun trained in Thai Classical Mask Dance (Khon) from
age 16 with Chaiyot Khummanee, one of the best Khon masters in Thailand. He received
a master's degree in Thai Classical Dance from Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.
In a situation typical of dying classical arts everywhere, ten years later he is the
only artist in his class to continue dance as a career. Mr. Klunchun has earned
domestic accolades and fame for his efforts in modernizing Khon, and even turned his
performance studio into a museum of rare, classic Khon masks. As a choreographer
and director, he created the opening and closing ceremonies for the 1998 Asian Games
held in Bangkok; directed the popular spectacle The River of Kings 1 (1999) and The
River of Kings 2 (2001), staged on the banks of Bangkok's Chao Phrya River;
represented Thailand at the ASEAN Cultural Festival in Vietnam (2004); and created
dances that have toured with Asia Pacific Performance Exchange Program (APPEX) in
the U.S., Hungary, Japan, and Denmark. Mr. Klunchun has also directed,
choreographed, and solo danced The Sacrifice of Phya Chattan in Thai Court Dance
style at the Thailand Cultural Center. In addition to creating the choreography for
Ramakien, he will dance the role of the Demon cum Floating Princess, Benjakai.

Born in Thailand, Sarawanee Tanatanit studied at the Dance Centre and Varaporn &
Kanjana Schools in Bangkok before transferring to the Goh Ballet Academy in
Vancouver, Canada in 1996. In 1999, Tanatanit was a finalist in the Asia Pacific
International Ballet Competition in Tokyo, and was awarded the Royal Academy of
Dancing Solo Seal. She has since been accepted to participate in International
Ballet Competitions in Helsinki and Shanghai. Winner of the 2001 Prix de Lausanne,
Tanatanit joined ABT's Studio Company that same year. Tanatanit became an apprentice
in the main company in August 2002 and a member of the corps de ballet in January

Tanatanit's repertoire with the Company includes a Sylph in Artemis, the Aya in La
Bayadère, the lead Gypsy in Don Quixote, the Polish Princess in Swan Lake, leading
roles in Petite Mort and Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison and a
featured role in HereAfter.

Please contact Eileen McMahon, 212-875-5391 if you are interested in arranging an
interview with Mr. Klunchun or Ms. Tanatanit


Eileen McMahon

Director of Publicity and Publications


70 Lincoln Center Plaza, 9th floor

New York, NY 10023


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