Dana Lawton Dances continues to be committed to celebrating multi-generational dancers, and we are so grateful to all our fans and supporters. Please consider an end of the year tax-deductible donation as we embark on a year of creation and collaboration. 2020 brings us to the Farallon Islands in the late 1800’s. Our full-length evening work, premiering at the Cowell Theatre in the spring features original poetry and music, new choreography, and promises to transport the audience into living Bay Area history during the Gold Rush.
Our summer Thailand tour was extraordinary! Please enjoy Dana’s humorous moment to moment recap of what it takes to put on a show in Bangkok (using iTranslate)
Good morning (Thai time) everyone,
It was AMAZING!!! I will be posting more pictures soon when I come off the cloud I am floating on after our two days in Bangkok performing.
10am We arrived on the morning of the 7th to meet with the tech crew and see the theater. They call it an auditorium, but rather it was a lovely 200 seat proscenium stage with all the bells and whistles. Wood floor, wings and lighting and sound that was state of the art.
Only 5 dancers (John, Robin, Colin, Jennie and Garth) and Jon were able to be there for the tech in the morning and I was able to use my translator app to communicate all the cues to the crew who only nod and didn’t speak English except “black out”… it was hilarious. I would talk into my phone with comments like “Can we bring the high sides up to 30%” and the phone would speak out the request in Thai and they would all nod and the lights would change, this took about three hours to light all the dances. They had not received the cues from Linda (and they could not read English anyway) and at the beginning everything looked the same, Ashes was no different than Holding Space. I was very sad that we had all this technology and we might as well have been doing it in a gym with bright lighting and blackouts as the only options.
The dancers were great, spacing while I was “speaking in Thai” up in the booth, Jon was getting sound and everyone was gesturing as much as possible, hoping that modern dance would be the form of communication when I wasn’t using my phone and John McConville (the only person who is fluent in Thai) wasn’t dancing.
1pm Tola, Little Leah, Michael arrived and we could do more spacing, more talking into my phone (maybe some color please???) Of course they just got off the plane and were looking a bit googley-eyed… but they danced!!! More phone conversation via iTranslate, perhaps a cue to cue???
Oh and did I mention that we were asked the day before to incorporate two students from the International School of Bangkok??? Two sweet 15 year olds, Jeslyn and Natalie joined us and I brainstormed on how to incorporate them into a show that was set to sail in 36 hours. I decided to use them as a foreshadowing between pieces, so in addition to dancers on stage I had others working in the aisles of the theatre teaching them phrases from the different dances; Stars, Holding Space, You’re That Wish… etc. They learned 8 phrases in 8 hours!
6pm everyone was exhausted with all the learning, communicating, adjusting, dancing and we headed back to the hotel. Previously I had been told this would be an informal showing, but then became aware of all the press (many on-line articles), the large poster in the Bangkok Arts & Cultural building and all the pre-ticket sales (over 100)… I had to up my game.
I didn’t sleep much that night and woke up at 4am on show day to look over notes, both choreographic and technical…. (missing Linda A LOT!!!). Had two strong cups of coffee and met everyone in the lobby at 930am to take crazy taxis called ‘tuktuks’ to the theater a mile away.
August 8… game day. 10am… Vera has arrived, we are all here. Garth is my point person and co-captain. Our the schedule for the day:
10-11 warm-up, dancing on stage, finding our feet and the new time zone in our bodies
11-12 fix spacing (add Vera since this is her first time in the theatre) meanwhile two young dancers review all the phrase work they learned yesterday (we videoed everything on their phones so they could work overnight—ambitious thought. I have 2 teenagers, right?)
12-1245 incorporate dancers in-between pieces, re-communicate through my phone about lighting cue changes now that we have interludes… see if the lighting designer was able to read Linda notes… color anyone?
1-2 tech run- pretty rough! Entrances, lights, music and then sound… NO WAIT… sound then music!!! Not THAT music!!! Black out!!! Not yet… now, now Now, NOW!!! I needed a drink.
2-230 notes. John McConville translates. More nodding and bowing. I am smiling…. a lot.
230-4 lunch in the beautiful cultural center, just like a high end museum with galleries, delicious cafes, atrium… views of Bangkok (it’s 9 stories high and we are on the 5th floor) For those more adventurous (Colin, Garth) there are food stands with chicken feet, frog eyeballs, noodles, pad Thai, mango with sticky rice… and McDonald’s in the mall next door. Something for everyone, that is how I am thinking of Bangkok.
430- our presenter, Tip, walks in. She is the Director of Friends of the Arts, an organization that has been bringing international dance companies to Bangkok for 30 years. She is dressed to the nines and very wealthy, her shoes, jewelry, clothes are impeccable, I am feeling under-impressive… (dance clothes and bare feet anyone?) We chat, she tells us that she has invested a lot in this performance and has invited the politicians and ambassadors of the city. GULP! She wants to watch the run. DOUBLE GULP!! “Of course!” I am smiling and nodding, I am learning Thai 🙂
445- Dress A few hiccups but it goes a bit smoother, still no color, but the lights do change from 100% to 50% (sometimes in the middle of the dance?), the two young dancers mostly remember the phrases, everyone is dancing beautifully and Jon’s guitar and vocals are fantastic!
6-7 notes, food, more water (Really needing a drink right now), Tip not too thrilled that we have two 15 year-old… not very professional. I smooth feathers, “What an opportunity to show how truly multigenerational we are and how inclusive…” I don’t know if she buys it. I translate into my phone about missed cues… color??? Letting that go. Checking in with dancers who are sore and getting sleepy. Oh! There is going to be a pre-show talk where I speak about the company and the work? No problem! Smiling, nodding. Put on shoes and make-up… try to look like the director of an internationally touring dance company who is worthy of ambassadors and donors.
7, circle time… angle cards… manifest dance… deep breaths and gratitude. Here goes noth’n!
710 Curtain speech went well. I thanked everyone in Thai “Sawadi-ka” and spoke about the importance of dance as a healing medium to bring diverse people together. How the multiplicity of human bodies dancing on stage can be transformative, and reaching across borders to make new friends and connections is more potent than ever before. I was brilliant. ☺
720- lights go down to a house with 150+ people. My heart is pounding. “are the going to understand it?”, “like it?”, “clap in between pieces?”, “laugh at the funny bits?”, “be bored with Ashes?”… oh and those cues that never have been right one time… where IS that drink???
830 The pride was overwhelming. The dancers were incredible and danced even better than I had ever seen before, even the younger ones brought everything they had to the stage. Jon’s music was sublime, every note, lyric, chord progression was magical. Only one lighting cue miffed (down from 40) and all music cues were on the spot. Still no color, but I didn’t care.
Bows, flowers, applause. The lobby filled with people with tears in their eyes. “Never seen anything like it.” “I didn’t know that dance could move me like that.” “So beautiful to see so many different dancers on stage but a true ensemble.” They got it! “What was your favorite?” -Ashes, Shenanigans, Song of my Heart, Holding Space-. But others had questions and wanted to talk at length about This Life and, You’re That Wish.
Interview on True TV, lots of photos with people wearing clothing that costs more than I make in a year. Hugs all around and many new friends/fans in Thailand.
930 DLD t-shirts to the crew and young dancers… clean the dressing room, pack up and say good night.
10—find a BIG drink down the street.
Midnight—fall into bed elated, proud, happy and grateful.
DLD is off again! Come get a glimpse of the wonderful work DLD will be sharing the the citizens of Bangkok, Thailand as part of “The Fluid Tour.” Join us on Sunday, July 29 for an afternoon of performance, community, and fundraising!
Audience favorites from Beyond This Moment, HOME and DLD’s recent anniversary season. Live music performed by Jon Lawton and a Q&A with dancers and Artistic Director, Dana Lawton.
Doors open 3:30pm
Two preview performances are set at 4 pm and 6 pm.
Light appetizer and beer/wine bar.
$20-2000 gets you in!
Can’t attend this event? You can still donate to support this tour.
You can donate online via PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org, or give at the door.
How the money raised supports the company and this tour:
$30 a day per dancer per diem
$60 a day per dancer lodging
$10 a day per dancer transportation
$100 sponsors a dancer for a day
$700 sponsors a dancer for a week
$1,500 sponsors a dancer for the whole tour!
Come and pay-what-you-wish to support this exciting tour to Thailand!