The Singapore Dance Theatre brought love to Bangkok’s 20th International Festival of Dance and Music last week, performing their renditions of the wedding scenes from “Coppelia”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “Don Quixote” in a show titled “Classical Weddings”.
Celebrating the Festival’s 20th year and the Singapore Dance Theatre’s 30th, artistic director Janek Schergen and ballet master Mohamed Noor Sarman began the evening with “Coppelia”, a light-hearted ballet that combines comedy and drama with classical dance. It tells the story of two young lovers, Swanilda, portrayed by Li Jie and Franz, by Hou Liang. Their love story is threatened by Franz’s affection for a mysterious girl he sees on the balcony – Coppelia – who oddly enough turns out to be a doll.
The beginning of Act III was introduced by the music of Leo Delibes, “Marche de la Cloche”, and featured 12 ladies dressed in stunning costumes of black bodices and skirts with silver trimmings. They danced in perfect unison, kneeling in a circle and then rising, one by one, to do a pirouette and pose before kneeling again. As the villagers gathered to celebrate the harvest, and the wedding of Swanilda and Franz, the festivities continued into the night, with the Dance of the Hours and the wedding Pas de Deux.
A few mistimings aside. the dancers performed wonderfully. Li Jie’s ability to perform an arabesque penche slowly, while sustaining her pose and holding her hands together in prayer demonstrate the capabilities of the cast.
The second performance of the evening was Aurora’s Wedding from the classic fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty”. Act III begun with the fairies entering the scene and starting to dance followed by the Cavaliers who lifted the fairies high as they pirouette, before lowering them and supporting them in arabesque penche, demonstrating the fitness and prowess of the dancers.
Audience favourites, White Cat played by Mai Suzuki and Puss in Boots by Reece Hudson drew applause and laughter as they pranced around the stage and wiggled their bottoms. Akira Nakahama was confident as Aurora, with her backbends and long arabesques adding to the energy of the performance.
Act III, Kitri’s Wedding from “Don Quixote”, began with the Toreadors marching on stage in groups of three throwing their hats to the unseen spectators off stage, while stomping, clapping, dancing and slapping their tambourines. The showstopper came just after Kitri and Basilio appeared. Kenya as Basilio, not only danced with eye-striking precision but also with admirable energy and spirit. The couple alternated in demonstrating multiple corkscrew turns to the already applauding audience. The celebration of their marriage ended in an amazing pas de deux, bringing the house down amid calls for more.