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Magic in the moves

Posted by pakin On October - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

South American troupes bring classical and contemporary ballet to Bangkok’s International Festival

COMING TO THE Thailand Cultural Centre this month are two of South America’s top dance companies – Ballet Nacional Sodre (BNS, or National Ballet of Uruguay) and the Deborah Colker Dance Company out of Brazil. One is classical, the other contemporary.

Uruguay’s national ballet company, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary, has a long history. Legend has it that the much-celebrated Nijinsky almost accepted an offer to start a school in Uruguay after his final tour with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1919. Uruguayan choreographer Alberto Pouyanne founded an earlier incarnation of the BNS known as the Corps de Ballet Sodre, which became one of two major South American ballet companies in the 20th century, the other being Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.

Over the years a number of Europeans left their mark on the company, staging major classical works such as “Les Sylphides”, “Swan Lake” and “Coppelia”. Then in 1971, a fire ravaged the company’s base, Estudio Auditorio del Sodre, and for almost 40 years the theatre was closed, finally reopening in 2009. The following year Uruguay’s president, Jose Mujica appointed multi-award-winning Argentinean star dancer Julio Bocca as the artistic director.

A gifted dancer, for two decades Bocca was the principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), and a guest artist with the Royal Ballet of London, Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, Kirov Ballet in St Petersburg, and Alla Scala de Milan, among others.

In a short period of time he dramatically elevated the standard of the BNS, first expanding from only 25 dancers to 68, and going from just 15 performances a year to 90, with national and international tours. He also mounted full-length productions of “Giselle”, “Swan Lake”, “The Nutcracker”, “La Sylphide”, “Le Corsaire” and Natalia Makarova’s staging of “La Bayadere”, and triple bills of ballets by choreographers such as William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian and Nacho Duato.

In addition he enticed ABT ballerina Maria Riccetto back to her homeland, making her the principal with the company, and then promoted the young Spanish dancer, Ciro Tamayo, to principal in 2013. Both will perform in Bangkok in an exciting programme this Sunday that takes in Venezuelan choreographer Vicente Nebrada’s “Our Waltzes”; “Coppelia – Pas Deux” by Enrique Martinez; Oscar Araiz’s “Adagietto”; “Le Corsaire Pas De Trois” by Anna-Marie Holmes; and “Don Quixote Suite” by Silvia Bazilis and Raul Candal.

At the other end of the spectrum is the Deborah Colker Dance Company. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Colker founded her company in 1994, taking it to the world stage with productions featuring elaborate installations and sets, and a choreographic direction that tackles abstract themes strongly influenced by her heritage.

The company went on stage for the first time at the Rio de Janeiro Municipal Theatre, sharing the night with Momix, Moses Pendleton’s renowned cult group. It was the inaugural edition of the show “O Globoem Movimento”.

With sponsorship from Petrobras, the company acquired their own studio in 1996, the same year as their first world premiere abroad at the prestigious Biennale de La Danse de Lyon with “Mix”, which combines excerpts from earlier works “Vulcao” and “Velox”.

Since then they have performed in Argentina, Austria, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Macau, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, Portugal, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

In 2001, the company was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award in the category “Outstanding Achievement in Dance” by the Society of London Theatre, an honour never before awarded to a South American artist or group.

In Bangkok, they will recreate their “Mix”, a highly physical blend of gymnastics and acrobatics, which praises the beauty of the moving human body.

International Cultural promotions is grateful to the shows’ sponsors – Bangkok Bank, Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, B Grimm, BMW, Beiersdorf, the Crown Property Bureau, the Dusit Thani Bangkok, Indorama Ventures, PTT, the Nation Group, Singha Corp, Thai Airways International, the Tourism Authority of Thailandand the Ministry of Culture.

Italian night in Bangkok

Posted by pakin On October - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Both – Theo Mio and Tenute Silvio Nardi – are perfectly matched for a promising night in Bangkok.

Theo Mio, Italian restaurant at InterContinetal Bangkok, will be hosting the promising wine dinner to celebrate Tenute Silvio Nardi winery’s most celebrated wines on October 22.

To mark the Tenute Silvio Nardi’s most renowned wines, the gastronomic evening will see the guests feast on a sumptuous five-course dinner specially created by Chef Chris Beverley, and paired with carefully selected vintages straight from the brand’s 36 Italian vineyards. To complete the experience, guests will get the opportunity to chat with the owner of the winery, Emilia Nardi, to learn more about the vintages.

“It’s going to be an amazing evening,” says Chef Chris. “The Tenute Silvio Nardi label reflects the purity of the region in Italy, and the dishes have been chosen to create a harmonious series of tastes, textures and flavors.”

To be held at InterContinental Bangkok’s Theo Mio, the wine dinner (Bt1,800++/per person) will start with a delicious chicken liver crostini with mushroom arancini and ribollita, coupled with Tuscan vegetable soup. This will be complemented by the evening’s first vintage, the Prosecco Bottega DOC, an intense, dry sparkling wine.

A Tuscan Salumi platter follows, paired with a Turan Sant’ Antimo Rosso 2013, a well balanced clean, complex and spicy vintage, enriched by mature red fruit. Up next, especially for pasta fans is the quail tortellini with rosemary brown butter, made all the more delicious with a glass of glorious fresh Rosso di Montalcino 2013. Continuing with the more satisfying dishes is the succulent ox cheek, braised in Tuscan red wine with soft polenta, carrot and salsa verde. Accompanying this is one of Italy’s best known and most expensive wines, and the first winner of the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita award, the Brunello di Montalcino 2010.

The meal ends on a sweet, light note with a sumptuous panacotta with Marsala-roasted guava, served with a selection of the luxurious Bottega Liqueurs – a great ending to this evening of distinction.

Theo Mio restaurant is located on the ground level of InterContinental Bangkok. This Italian restaurant opened in August by Theo Randall – English-born professional chef who specialises in Italian cuisine.

The vineyards of Tenute Silvio Nardi extend east and west of Montalcino in a primarily hilly area in Tuscany, Italy.

Both – Theo Mio and Tenute Silvio Nardi – are perfectedly matched for a promising night in Bangkok.

For more information, call 02 656 0444 ext 6273. Visit www.icbangkok.com.

Thailand’s first world-class fair for makers and innovators

Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, the Ministry of Science and Technology’s National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and maker groups in Thailand launched the first Bangkok Mini Maker Faire, a showcase of innovations and inventions that aims to inspire and foster a “maker” culture within Thai society. Bangkok Mini Maker Faire was open to the public free of charge on September 26-27, in front of Hard Rock Café, Siam Square.

Pairoj Kaweeyanun, Chevron Thailand president said, “The Bangkok Mini Maker Faire is part of the five-year ‘Enjoy Science’ program aimed to inspire the general public, including children and parents, to see the four STEM subjects as interesting and relevant in everyday life. Chevron and NSTDA both realize that in an era of digital economy and innovation, the country’s competitiveness relies greatly on the capability of the people to innovate, whether innovations are in the form of inventions, handicrafts, or technology-related entrepreneurship. Innovations should not be restricted within academic or specialist area. We believe that the maker movement is one of the fundamental components that can help leverage Thailand’s competitiveness. It is our goal to support and raise more awareness of the maker culture among Thai people and to inspire them to become a maker.”

Thaweesak Koanantakool, NSTDA president said, “Being a maker is far more than just a hobby. Their inventions can be the foundation of thriving businesses that are uniquely capable of tailoring their products to match the needs of each individual customer in a way that traditional mass production simply cannot compete. Therefore, it is important that we support the maker movement which can spark innovations and drive economic growth in the digital era – an age in which technology and innovation are always in demand. A strong maker culture can make significant and sustainable contributions to the nation’s scientific and technological competitiveness.”

Sharnon Tulabadi, CEO and founder of Gravitech Thai and Home of Maker who represents makers at the event said, “In Thailand, the maker movement continues to expand as seen by the increase in number of maker spaces, workshops and other activities in Bangkok and other provinces. Maker space like Home of Makers functions as a co-working space for makers to exchange knowledge and ideas and further improve their work. However, the maker concept is not yet well known among the public and we are glad that Chevron and NSTDA joined forces to create awareness of the maker culture through Bangkok Mini Maker Faire. At the fair, makers will have the opportunity to showcase their works and exchange knowledge and ideas with other makers while inspiring and sparking creativity for the public, further garnering attention for the maker culture. ”

“In fact, Thai people have always been makers in their own right. Local wisdom is a great example of how local people adapt things around them to use in their daily lives. We believe that if the maker culture becomes widely known and the public are introduced to maker’s technologies such as 3D printers or laser cutters, we will be seeing a lot more innovations by Thai people. This will help effectively and sustainably increase Thailand’s competitiveness in science and technology, which is exactly what Enjoy Science project is all about”, Pairoj added.

Bangkok Mini Maker Faire showcases creations from makers from across the country and offers a variety of workshops which include demonstrations on how to make a 3D printer from leftover materials, a robot contest for dummies or “Hebocon” as well as inspirational talks. Makers from across the country participated in the event namely Maker Zoo, Home of Maker, PINN Creative Space, Fab Café, TRIBES, Ne8T, Maker Asia, iNex, Chiang Mai Maker Club, Phuket Maker club and many more.

Chevron and NSTDA jointly announced the results of 3D printing contest Enjoy Science: Let’s Print the World and showcased the finalists’ works from the contest. Miss Sirilak Sangwarnworawut won the first prize in the student category with her 3D printed ‘artificial coral reef’ and Ms Saowakont Pummalee won the first prize in the general public category with her 3D printed ‘Tossakan’ . Each received a set of 3D printer & Scanner worth 100,000 baht and a round trip ticket to Maker Faire Berlin in October this year to be introduced to innovations created by world-class makers and to inspire them to apply their newfound experiences to the development of 3D printing in Thailand, as well as motivating the next generation of Thai innovators.

Faulty CCTV ‘curbs hunt for suspect

Posted by pakin On August - 25 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Most of the security cameras installed along the escape route used by the suspect in the Erawan shrine bombing were broken, which is hindering the investigation into the incident, according to the police chief.

National police chief Somyot Poompunmuang said Monday 15 of the 20 cameras from Ratchaprasong intersection to Silom were out of order.

The cameras are owned and maintained by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

Pol Gen Somyot said the images obtained from the five working cameras do not give his men a complete picture of the incident. “The footage jumps around from one camera to another. And because some of the images were not available due to the broken cameras, we have had to rely on our own imagination,” the police chief said.

Police last week released a sketch of the prime suspect seen on CCTV footage leaving a rucksack at the Erawan shrine 15 minutes before the explosion.

A male suspect in a yellow T-shirt was seen on the surveillance images leaving the shrine after allegedly planting the bomb there on Aug 17. After he left the shrine and the bomb exploded, he took a motorcycle taxi to Silom.

A source said earlier that police are looking for another taxi driver who picked the suspect up from Silom Soi 9 after the explosion. Police have questioned about 15 taxi drivers whose vehicles appeared in CCTV footage around that time.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau has conceded that it is difficult to say whether the suspect is still in the country. According to the latest reports, the suspect possibly entered Chulalongkorn Hospital, changed his clothes and then fled the country to Malaysia.

Pol Gen Somyot said the police are missing some essential photographic evidence and therefore they might need to expand the scope of the investigation to fill in the gaps.

The police chief added it was fortunate the security cameras at the Dusit Thani Hotel captured images of the suspect, which showed him heading to Hua Lamphong train station.

However, Pol Gen Somyot said the investigation into the bombing is moving forward.

The BMA, meanwhile, declined to confirm if the 15 cameras were broken. Tripob Khantayaporn, director of the BMA’s Traffic System Development Division, said the BMA operates security cameras throughout the city which are either directly connected to City Hall’s central control panel or are stand-alone ones.

Images from the control panel-linked cameras are constantly monitored whereas the pictures taken by the stand-alone ones are reviewed every 15 days.

He said the cameras may not produce clear pictures because they are designed to see the surrounding areas from a certain vantage point, which is different from police-operated cameras which can zoom in on traffic offenders.

Mr Tripob added that the BMA has around 57,000 CCTV cameras in Bangkok. Of these, about 10,000 are new and capable of taking high-resolution pictures.

Also Monday, chemical analysis of blast residue found at the Erawan shrine has detected nitrite but it is not sufficient to identify the bomb type, a source in the MPB’s explosive ordnance disposal unit said. The source told the Bangkok Post that nitrite is usually present in residue from C4 and TNT explosives so at this stage it cannot be determined if the device used in the Erawan bombing is C4 or TNT.

According to the source, the ball bearings used in the Erawan shrine and the Sathon pier explosions are from the same manufacturer. The ball bearings are about 6mm in diameter and are commonly found at hardware stores. “This type of bomb isn’t commonly used in Thailand. The latest was the bomb in Sukhumvit Soi 71, but it is unlikely it was made by the same person. Their signatures are different,” said the source.

A source at the Immigration Police Bureau also said intelligence reports from the National Security Council (NSC) indicate terrorists in Pakistan provide bomb-making training to various groups including Uighur extremists and insurgents in the deep South.

He said police are also investigating if there is any link between the blast and the hacking of six official websites by a group who claim to be an Islamic group from Tunisia.

Meanwhile, the National Council for Peace and Order said a total of 139 people have been arrested and a small amount of firearms and drugs confiscated in the Friday to Monday crackdown targeting tourist guesthouses and accommodations across the city.

The Justice Ministry and the Tourism and Sports Ministry have distributed financial support to the relatives of 16 of those killed in the bombing.

A total of 104 people have lodged petitions for financial aid. Out of the remaining injured, two people were discharged over the weekend, leaving the number of those being treated at various hospitals at 50.

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