Nicha Rodboon of Aree School of Dance Arts.
Although the Japanese tsunami seems such a long time ago, it's good to know people have not forgotten the devastation and tragedy it caused, and how much people suffered - and are still suffering - today.
Three dance schools in Bangkok, namely Bangkok City Ballet, Studio Zoom and Aree School of Dance Arts, are joining forces to organise a charity performance to raise funds to help victims of the Japanese tsunami this Sunday, July 24, at M Theatre at 4pm.
"Dance for Japan: Creation of Good Will" will feature various dance disciplines, from classical ballet and contemporary dance to jazz, Spanish dance and Hip Hop.
The charity dance concert was the brainchild of Japanese choreographer Eiko Asakawa, who happened to be in Thailand when the tsunami devastated the northeast coast of Japan. Horrified by the magnitude of the disaster, and wondering what she could do to help, she suggested the idea of a charity recital to Aree Sahavejjabhand, principal of Aree School of Dance Arts, and to her surprise, Aree agreed without any hesitation.
That got the ball rolling, and soon, Bangkok City Ballet's Mayumi Ogasawara and Studio Zoom had come on board, followed by Karaket Entertainment to provide the technical backup, and M Theatre, the venue.
"There must be a reason why we are still living, while others have died, have lost loved ones, or are suffering in any other way," said Asakawa. "So all of us who are not affected want to help."
From one small "acorn" grew a "big oak tree", a concert that involves 160 dancers from the three schools, and a chorus of 30 from the Japanese Association in Thailand.
"I never thought it was going to be so big!" remarked Asakawa. "In Japan, it would be impossible to get three dance schools to do a joint charity performance like this, where everyone contributes with their hearts and no one gets paid!"
The show will start off with the Japanese Association Chorus, and an opening number by guests dancers Sarawanee Tanatanit, a member of Geneva Ballet who also spent seven years with the American Ballet Theatre in New York, and she will be partnered by Nathanael Marie, whose career has taken him to the National Ballet of Manheim, Ballet d'Europe, National Ballet of Marseille, and Geneva Ballet.
BCB will then lead with a series called "Lost, Learn, Live", which combines modern ballet and contemporary with jazz dance, all choreographed by Orawee Jamnansil.
Studio Zoom will then get the beat thumping with some "old school" hip-hop by Yukio, followed by Dance with Me, a contemporary piece by Patrice Leroy. This segment will also feature Zoombox Crew, Eye Candy Crew and "A Dream" in LA Style and reggae, highlighted by a dance musical Over the Rainbow, choreographed by the show's producer Eiko Asakawa herself, and featuring a dancer from Japan, Otaki Itsuki.
Aree School of Dance Arts will round up the show with "Paquita", a classical ballet with guest dancer Nicha Rodboon, a former student of the school who has just graduated from the English National Ballet School in London and will begin her professional career next month with the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich.
"Raymonda" will complete the ballet sequence, to be followed by a contemporary number Black Cat, two Spanish dances and two jazz numbers.
The finale will feature Japanese pianist Otaki Shun, a prize winner at the Festival De Musicos Jovenes De Cataluna and the Isle Mallorca Capdepera International Piano Conpetition, and whose album "Sounds of Cataluna" received semi-recommendation from Record Arts magazine in Japan.
The entire cast will assemble in a light ceremony to Over the Rainbow, symbolising the crossing over a bridge of sorrow to a brighter and better future.
As the words on the commemorative T-shirt says:
"We hope for the better
As we have not forgotten..."
By Usnisa Sukhsvasti
21 July 2011