While travelling through Asia & Australia, I stopped in to visit the Bangkok City Ballet. I have to admit that before researching I wasn’t aware of any ballet companies in Thailand, so I was really interested to see how ballet and the dancers were received in the Thai cultural scene.
Visiting the Bangkok City Ballet was an exciting adventure! When I went downstairs from our hotel room at the new Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 to get a taxi, I was told that there had been a traffic accident and that there was no way I’d make it in time. So I opted to jump on the back of a scooter taxi, through the crazy busy streets of Bangkok, ducking and weaving between cars, trucks and buses. I thought I’d be scared but it was so much fun!
I arrived at the studio but didn’t realise that it had moved two months earlier, so I had to dash back across town, to pretty much back to where I started just opposite the Novotel Hotel. But thankfully with the taxi scooters I made it in time to watch the Bangkok City Ballet company class, before interviewing their male principal dancer and watching rehearsals of Don Quixote.
Ballet in Thailand and Bangkok isn’t as popular as jazz, hip-hop or street dance, but the ballet company and the art form is growing. During my interview with principal Anurak Ngamta, he commented that he felt that the company was very professionally run, with good structured classes, rehearsals and performances.
And while the company is a long way from the stages of London or New York, Anurak Ngamta was so beautiful that he could easily grace the stages with any of the UK or US ballet companies. He was definitely born to dance, there is no movement or position that his body resists; he can turn perfectly, his feet are deeply arched, his extensions naturally high, he has flexibility and turn out, balance, grace, height in his jumps, softness in all his moves. As he performs exercises in class he is clearly the stand out of the company.
I interviewed Anurak Ngamta between class and rehearsal, in their second studio. Anurak (also known as Fiat) was so humble and with English not his first language, the company’s marketing manager Saranratr Maneesawangwong (who recently returned from studying in New York including a NYU program with American Ballet Theatre and working with the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School) joined as an interpreter. It was a unique experience to interview through an interpreter, but it helped ensure that Anurak’s heart felt words and that his personal story of country boy to city ballet dancer was not lost in translation.
After spending the afternoon with the Bangkok City Ballet, I walked across the street back to the Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 and enjoyed a lazy day at the cool outdoor pool with views overlooking Bangkok that was scorching hot at 35 degrees! It was a perfect way to end an adventurous day watching ballet in Bangkok city.
We spent three fantastic days in Bangkok, staying at the new hotel Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20. I absolutely love new hotels, the beds that no-one has ever slept in, the new hotel fresh towels and linen, everything shines new. Our hotel room was tastefully decorated and had stunning views across sparkling Bangkok. I especially loved the absolutely HUGE beds, I could’ve slept forever in that bed!
Another hit was the brunch in the hip breakfast room that served freshly cooked food from around the world. I loved that you could have breakfast on the balcony with skyscraper views. I also loved that the staff were so helpful and friendly. We enjoyed canapés in the club room and cocktails at the Sky 20 bar as the sunset over the city, it was a nice touch each day. When we pass through Bangkok again, I’ll definitely be returning to Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 as it’s a perfect city break hotel located right in the heart of the Bangkok buzz.
Look out for my interview with the lovely Anurak Ngamta.
Next stop Sydney, Australia!