Thai choreographer Pichet Klunchun shares how his shadow puppet and Khon dance production, 'Nijinsky Siam', was created in response to the photographs of ballet legend Vaslav Nijinsky performing the Thai classical dance-inspired Michel Fokine work, 'Danse Siamoise' (1910). Joined by his production manager and wife Sojirat Singholka, Klunchun describes the democratization of Thailand coinciding with Khon dancers removing their masks and embracing individuality. Moderated by Scholar-in-Residence Maura Keefe.
EXCERPT from PillowTalk: Thailand's Traditions Today. Recorded July 15, 2010.
PillowTalks feature world-renowned choreographers, dancers, authors, filmmakers, historians, and critics in live hour-long moderated discussions of the cultural forces shaping the field of dance. Curated by Jacob's Pillow Director of Preservation Norton Owen and moderated by Jacob's Pillow Scholars-in-Residence, PillowTalks use dance as a prism to explore the world at large.
Contemporary dance historian and dance writer Maura Keefe is a Scholar-in-Residence at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. She has led audience engagement programs at numerous locations including Princeton University, UCLA, the Goethe Institut, City Center and DANCECleveland. Her current research areas are the exploration of the choreography of talking dancing in contemporary dance and the relationships between dance
and sports. Keefe has an MFA in choreography and performance from Smith College, and a PhD in dance history and theory from University of California, Riverside. She is the chair of the Department of Dance at SUNY College at Brockport.
Director and choreographer Pichet Klunchun trained in the Thai classical mask dance form known as Khon, from age 16 with Chaiyot Khummanee, one of the best Khon masters in Thailand. He received his degree in Thai Classical Dance at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, and pursued theatre both as dancer and choreographer at high-profile events such as the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok. Klunchun is a recent recipient of the 'Routes' ECR Princess Margriet Award for Cultural Diversity from the European Cultural Foundation. www.pklifework.com