Thursday, February 10, 2011

A last look at Belle

Belle thanks her 12-strong Silver Bell team at the end of last night's performances
A dramatic shadow backdrop during one of Belle's solos
I was so tired last night that I fell asleep with my face on my pc keyboard. I woke up with Alt imprinted on my left cheek. It also meant that I didn't mention attending the second Silver Bell performance, at Gasolina last night. Silver Bell is a team of contemporary dancers formed by Belle, who if you haven't read this blog before, is Cambodia's most prominent new wave dance artist. They played their first fully-fledged public show at Chinese House a few months ago and followed it up with a performance to coincide with Belle's birthday. The lady in question performed a couple of signature solo dances, displaying her undoubted prowess but is keen to share the spotlight with her troupe, who got as much showtime as she did. The style can be classed as contemporary, new wave, whatever label you want to use, but essentially, it's all new to the eyes of most Cambodians, who formed the majority of last night's audience in Gasolina's garden setting. The sound quality was a bit hit and miss but the variety of dances more than made up for it. Belle's dramatic face-mask dance, a dream solo, girls in plastic rain macs and a disco-infused heavy beat were the highlights of the first half. Another Belle solo kicked off the second session that moved into salsa territory and finished with a country-style hoedown. An eclectic collection of mini-performances that kept the audience entertained.
It was the last time we'll see Belle for a while as in a few days she, alongwith Chy Ratana, Phon Sopheap, Noun Sovitou and Chey Chankethya, will take their considerable talents over to Canada, where the 2011 CanAsian international dance festival is being held this month. The five Cambodian dancers will perform on two nights, 24 and 26 February at the Fleck Dance Theatre under the guidance of multi-discipline artist Peter Chin, in a collaboration with his Tribal Crackling Wind company. It then looks likely that further overseas trips to Malaysia in March, to Singapore in May and then the United States will follow.
Belle has a great face for expressions, which she uses to good effect
Another solo performance from the troupe leader Belle
A contemplative look on the face of Belle
Belle and her team taking plaudits from the audience

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