Somapa Thai Dance Company
The Somapa Thai Dance Company, based in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area, has been actively giving performances, presentations, and workshops since 1999. Key members of the troupe have over 30 years of performing experience. They were trained in Thailand with the most celebrated dance masters including the National Artists and others from the prestigious Department of Fine Arts in Bangkok, Thailand.
The group has performed extensively in the D.C. Metropolitan area, as well as other states in the U.S., including such locations as the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, the Smithsonian, Arthur M. Sackler and Freer Gallery of Art, Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Under sponsorship of the Royal Thai Embassy in Mexico City, the group frequently performs in Mexico including performances at Teatro de la Danza in Mexico City, Teatro Juárez in Guanajuato, and Teatro Angela Peralta in San Miguel de Allende.
The Somapa Thai Dance Company's mission is to preserve and promote Thai culture and arts in the Americas. They hope to bring mutual understanding between people of different countries, cultures and ethnicities and the diversity to the communities they perform and teach.
For more information, please visit our website at www.somapadance.org
The first half of the performance will consist of Court Dances of Thailand
1: Opening Dance - Rabum Yong-Ngid
Rabum Yong-Ngid dance is taken from a classical Thai dance story called Unarut. In this scene, Supalak, the nanny of the heroine Nang Usa volunteers to go up to heaven to draw the images of angels for her mistress. In heaven, Supalak encounters the angels dancing with great joy and courting each other, as you see in this dance. The dance is a great example of a classical Thai dance form which demonstrates the grace, playfulness, and particularly the differences between the male and female characters and interactions between them.
2. The Chase of the Golden Deer Dance
The Chase of the Golden Deer dance is an episode of the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Indian Epic Ramayama. In this episode, Pra Ram (Rama) has been banished unjustly from the city of Ayodhya. His wife, Nang Seeda (Sita), and his younger brother, Pra Lak (Lakshman) accompanied him into exile in the forest. The three live as ascetics, practicing meditation, perseverance and endurance. The demon king Thotsakan (Ravana) hears of Nang Seeda's beauty and wants her for himself. Thotsakan commands his trusted demon warrior named Mareech to transform himself into a golden deer to lure Phra Ram from Nang Seeda and Pra Lak. Not realizing the trick, Pra Ram goes in pursuit of it, leaving Nang Seeda with Pra Lak. While chasing the deer, Pra Ram notices the golden deer's unusual beauty and realizes that the deer is actually a demon in disguise. He then shoots his arrow right into the deer. The deer then transforms himself back into the demon's form of Mareech. From the scenes in this performance the golden deer in disguise appears to tempt Nang Seeda. Pra Lak suspects the trick and warns Pra Ram and Nang Seeda of danger. Nang Seeda is annoyed and upset with Pra Lak's warning, then begged Pra Ram to capture the deer for her. Pra Ram giving in to his wife's plea chases the deer and shoots it with his arrow.
The story continues ..
Before dying, the deer cries out to Pra Lak for help, imitating Pra Ram's voice. Nang Seeda hears her husband's cry for help and asks Pra Lak to go to help his brother thus leaving her alone in the forest. Thotsakan then takes this opportunity to abduct her. This incident leads to the war between Pra Ram and Thotsakan.
2ND Half: Folk Dances of Thailand
3. Story Telling of Suthon-Manora (leading to the next dance - Manohra Buchayan)
The elaborate dance-drama tells a story of fabled love between Manohra, a mythical being, half bird and half human, and Prince Suthon. Manohra was captured and presented to Prince Suthon as his wife. With her beauty and intelligence, Manohra quickly became the most lovable Princess and the jewel of the kingdom. Until one day when the Prince was away at war, Manohra was accused by a jealous court counselor that she would cause a great evil that would soon fall upon the King, his family, and the entire kingdom. It was then decided that she must be sacrificed in a bonfire to prevent the misfortune. Manohra asked the King and the Queen's permission to put on her wings one last time and danced to bode a farewell. During her final movement, she leapt into the air and took flight to her home deep in the sacred Mount Krailas.
4. Manohra Buchayan, a solo dance (southern Thailand folk dance influence, based on the story told above)
5. Serng Pong-Lang (northeastern Thailand folk dance)
Pong Lang is a name of a musical instrument from Northeastern Thailand. The instrument is a wooden xylophone used in traditional folk music of the Isarn (Northeast) region. This type of dance "Serng" is unique to this region, and it depicts the fun-loving nature of the Isarn people. It reflects the life of the people in an agriculture-based society who dance during village festivals or after community participation in the harvests.
6. Theut-Theng/The Long Drum Dance (central Thailand folk dance)
The Theut-Theng Dance is sometimes known as the Klong Yao (long drum) Dance. The long drum is widely used as a folk instrument across Thailand. The Theut-Theng dance is a folk dance from Central Thailand depicting young couples playing the drums and courting each other at a local festival.
7. Fon Pang (northern Thailand folk dance)
Fon Pang is a folk dance from northern Thailand. Dancers perform with candles in their hands and dance with extremely flexible movements. This dance is usually performed in Buddhist ceremonies and festivals in northern Thailand. Northern Thai dances and music have meditative quality and signify peace and gracefulness. Northern dancers often perform in large groups or in processions.
Creative Cauldron at ArtSpace Falls Church (View)
410 South Maple Avenue in the Pearson Square Bldg
Falls Church, VA 22046
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