Renowned US contemporary dance teacher Dana Lawton returned to Thailand this week, bringing her latest production while casting a discerning eye over the Kingdom’s dance scene.
“Amazing” was her verdict, as the tenured professor led young talented Thai dancers through their paces in free workshops at the International School Bangkok from October 22-26.
When she wasn’t teaching, Lawton and her company Dana Lawton Dances (DLD) were treating dance fans to their latest creation at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.
The new production mines a little-known episode of the 19th-century American gold rush.
“Farallonites is an evening-length dance drama based on the lighthouse keepers of the Farallonite Islands which are a set of islands 27 miles off the coast of San Francisco,” explained Lawton. “The lighthouse keepers were put there during the gold rush era so that they could have all the schooners and ships coming in the bay area so they could go and search for gold.”
But Lawton seemed even more enthusiastic about the dance talent she uncovered during her daytime teaching sessions in Bangkok.
“Incredible training and incredible hearts, beautiful technique,” she said of the students at workshops held by the Friends of The Arts Foundation (FOTAF), organiser of the annual International Dance Festival in Thailand.
“I think there’s an open-heartedness of these students and a willingness to put themselves out there, which I find incredibly refreshing and a joy to be around,” Lawton added.
“I think the dance scene in Thailand is amazing.”
FOTAF offers a scholarship programme divided into two categories: Solo Dance Competition and Young Choreographer. About 20 scholarships are given out each year to support students who are passionate about the art of dancing.
For more information on the scholarships, check out https://www.fotaf.org/scholarship.