Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Parkway success

Belle (in red) and her fellow Japanese performers take the audience applause at Parkway
The Parkway Center hosted its first dance show last night - We're Gonna Go Dancing!! - and judging by the long-lasting applause from the packed audience at its conclusion, it was a success. And rightly so as it featured the contemporary dance skills of Cambodia's leading performers including Belle (Chumvan Sodhachivy), Chey Chankethya and Vuth Chanmoly, perhaps better known for her classical repertoire and her part in Where Elephants Weep. The collaboration between Cambodia's finest and Japanese choreographer Takikio Iwabuchi, under the umbrella of Amrita Performing Arts and the Japan Contemporary Dance Network, gave the assembled throng two separate works and a dance time of 75 minutes. The opening work, with Yukari Ota and Keiichi Otsuka, was incredibly lively as the two performers threw themselves around the stage demonstrating their immaculate timing and cohesion, amidst what seemed to me a love story - but what do I know. The second work, involving 9 male and female Khmer dancers, was the result of a weeklong collaborative workshop with the choreographer, who gave his new students the opportunity to freely express themselves, as well as incorporating small elements of traditional dance. The piece was titled 'Hand, it withers when expanded' and included a variety of solo and group elements, as well as talking and singing sections too, a first for a contemporary dance piece here as far as I'm aware. I liked the inclusion and so did the audience. All in all a very enjoyable visit to Parkway and a big thumbs up to the collaboration which produced such entertaining work in such a small timeframe. Contemporary dance is still very new here in Cambodia and more shows like this, that exposes this accessible art form to everyone, will only serve to enhance its reputation.
Vuth Chanmoly and Belle (red) are presented with flowers
The 9 Khmer performers take their bow at the end of the show
The audience waiting in anticipation including my friends Sophal, Kathy and Sophoin

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