The Bangkok International Festival of Music and Dance is Thailand’s largest annual performing arts celebration, and a worldwide attraction for dance and music lovers of all stripes. Over the thirteen years it has been running, the festival has introduced audiences to diverse international dances such as the zapateado (of Mexican Indian origin), the cadenza (from Italy), and ballet forms such as the arabesque and cabriole. It also brought opera to Thailand for the first time with the Novosibirsk State Academic Opera’s performance of Puccini’s "La Bohème".
This year, the festival featured the dancers of MOVE, a Vancouver-based contemporary dance company. It was the first time a Canadian modern dance company has performed in Thailand, joining an all-star roster that also included the Mariinsky Ballet of Russia and Danish gymnasts The Flying Superkids. MOVE was featured as one of the highlights of the festival’s program, showcasing their high-impact and compelling performance.
MOVE is a dynamic, up-and-coming young company of dancers that specializes in challenging and exciting performances with a strong appreciation for the foundations of Canadian dance history. Though they had already begun to make inroads to Asia with a performance at the Shanghai Expo, the Bangkok International Festival was their largest performance to date, as they danced for an audience over seven hundred strong.
After the performance, The Embassy of Canada to Thailand welcomed the dancers of MOVE to a private reception with partners from the Thai government and business sector, in addition to key Canadian investors and representatives from civil society and the UN. The reception was a celebration not only of the dancers’ performance, but also the 50th anniversary of Canada-Thailand official relations that has been feted throughout 2011.
The support of the Embassy was instrumental in bringing the dancers of MOVE to Thailand, who were also supported by the Festival itself (which had brought the Shuffle Demons funk band to Bangkok last year), the Canada Council, Canadoil, and the BC government. The Bangkok International Festival of Music and Dance was an excellent opportunity to celebrate Canada and Thailand’s ongoing relationship and to revel in the artistic achievements of dancers and musicians from all over the world.