Toto... We're not in Kansas anymore!
The performance was a sensory delight, with special music composed for each dance, beautifully elegant costumes, dramatic lighting, and original dances which combined traditional Thai, Javanese, and Balinese dance with modern interpretation. I didn't want it to end.
Photography was problematic due to the strong lighting and movement, but I subject you to my efforts in an attempt to convey the beauty and exoticism of this special event, and to give credit to the talented performers.
On the left, the very talented Ajan Manop Manasam becomes a 'kinnara', a mythical creature with a bird's legs and wings on a human body. His costume was no doubt an original, personal creation comprising layers of sumptuous silks, golden wings, and sonorous ankle bracelets and other jewelry.
Below is Waewdao Sirisook in a Javanese (Cirebon) batik performing a modern interpretation of Javanese dance. K. Waewdao has studied Balinese dance in Bali, and is a MFA Dance candidate at UCLA.
This dance featured a king-like figure and two women (worshipping subjects?) who used their long bodice wraps as tensioning for a 'menage a deux'.
Another standout was the elfin Ronnarong Khampha, who in a past performance of The Tempest must have been perfectly cast as Ariel (I didn't see it, but he's Ariel personified). For this dance he donned a traditional Thai loincloth, with painted upper legs (in acknowledgement of the tattoos with which men used to cover their upper legs), and the long finger extensions which give the elegant Thai hand movements such grace. His movements were beautifully controlled, powerful, yet light and graceful. It's no surprise that he has also been studying Javanese and Balinese dance in Indonesia.
After this incredible performance, I have vowed to not miss any of the events involving Aj. Vithi, Aj. Manop, or their students- they truly have a gift for theater and the performing arts.