The cultural buffet that the 18th annual Bangkok International Festival of Dance and Music is bringing to the city this year continues throughout much of October at the Main Hall of the Thailand Cultural Centre (14 Thiam Ruam Mit Rd).
There are two top ballet troupes performing this month, starting with the Karlsruhe Ballet from Germany, who will be performing The Nutcracker – A Christmas Carol on Saturday, October 8th (7:30pm), and Sunday, October 9th (2:30pm). This is a dramatic amalgam of E. T. A. Hoffman’s Nutcracker and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, set to Tchaikovsky’s music and staged with splendid sets and lighting. “It’s a uniquely delicate and elegant but powerful ballet performance,” according to German Cultural Attaché Jan Blezinger, who is proud that the production has 50 dancers from 13 countries, including China, Japan, and Korea.
Later in the month—on October 12th—France’s leading contemporary dance company Ballet Preljocaj enacts Romeo and Juliet, but here Serge Prokofiev’s ballet has been dramatically transformed by artistic director Angelin Preljocaj. It’s set in a totalitarian Eastern European country, making it a gripping, contemporary drama.
Spanish Flamenco is always one of most popular programs at the festival, and this year sees the highly acclaimed Sara Baras Dance Company performing in Thailand for the first time, on October 16th. This is a stunning production, with 15 vibrant dancers on stage who capture the emotion, drama and passion of flamenco. Maria Salcedo, Dep. Head of the Spanish Embassy in Thailand, raves about dancer Sara Baras, saying, “Her exceptional footwork and body expression, her dynamism, and the richness of her repertoire have placed her amongst the top flamenco dancers in the world!”
The sole classical orchestra performing at the festival this month is also one of the oldest in the world, and one of the grandest. The Presidential Symphony Orchestra of Turkey will make their Bangkok debut on October 14th. Chief Conductor Rengim Gokmen will lead the orchestra in a program that includes a scintillating range of master composers—from Liszt to Rachmaninoff.
The world-renowned Paul Taylor Dance Company from the USA will close the festival in spectacular fashion, with two different programs—one on October 18th, and an entirely different performance on October 19th. Formed in 1954, the troupe has performed in more than 500 cities in 62 countries and, to quote the New York Times, “They are one of the most exciting, innovative, and delightful dance companies in the entire world!”