Esplanade Presents | da:ns festival


Rasas – Khon

Pichet Klunchun Dance Company (Thailand)
20 – 22 Oct 2017Fri – Sun
20 & 21 Oct 2017 : 7pm & 8.45pm
22 Oct 2017 : 6.15pm & 8pm
20 & 21 Oct 2017 : 7pm & 8.45pm
22 Oct 2017 : 6.15pm & 8pm
Esplanade Outdoor Theatre

Khon is a Thai classical court masked dance that brings together many elements of the performing arts—dance, drama, pantomime and music—in a dance drama. It is best known for bringing to life the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, that permeates much of the traditional performing arts of Southeast Asia. Although many elements and characters of the familiar Ramayana story can be found in the Ramakien, the latter differs significantly as it is infused with elements of local Thai traditions and stories.

Khon evolved from nang yai, a form of shadow puppetry. Many of its highly stylised movements can be traced back to the movements of the puppets against a lit screen. There are four different types of performers in a khon performance: the dancers, who do not speak owing to their elaborate headdresses and masks; a chorus, who recites the poetry of the Ramakien on behalf of the dancers; the singers; and the orchestra. Each of the dancers on stage play one of four characters throughout the play: a male, a female, a demon and a monkey. The characters are distinguished by the type and colour of the masks that they wear on stage.

This Rasas, catch a selection of episodes from the Ramakien, as well two other court dance pieces that are also drawn from Hindu epics.

About Pichet Klunchun
A recipient of the John D. Rockefeller 3rd Award (2014), Pichet Klunchun is known for creating movement vocabularies and methodologies that expand boundaries of traditional and contemporary dance in Bangkok. He trained in khon at the age of 16 under Chaiyot Khummanee, one of the most regarded khon masters in Thailand. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in fine and applied arts at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, he pursued theatre both as a dancer and choreographer. He has participated in intercultural performances and collaborated in a work with French artist Jerome Bel, which has toured the world to critical acclaim. Klunchun's many world-class awards include Routes ECF Princess Margriet Award for Cultural Diversity (2008) and the Chevalier of the French Arts and Literature Order (2012).

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay previously commissioned Pichet Klunchun Dance Company’s Black and White in 2011 and Dancing with Death in 2016.

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