The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 27, 2012

Dance company adapts centuries-old Thai poem

From staff reports

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Somapa Thai Dance Company will present “Pralor,” a folk and dance drama, at 7 p.m. Monday in the Taylor Performing Arts Center at Missouri Southern State University.

The performance, part of MSSU’s Thailand semester, is free and open to the public. It features an adaptation of “Lilit Pralor,” a beloved Thai poem.

“This is the premiere event of our Thailand semester,” said Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies, in a news release. “We always have a great turnout for the themed semester cultural events, especially the performing groups. This will be the community’s opportunity to watch a romantic and tragic tale of forbidden love and social taboo with a Thai twist.”

“Pralor” is a classical Thai dance drama based on a poem thought to have been written during the Ayutthaya period between 1350 and 1767. Loosely based on northern Thai myth, the drama incorporates many folk dance movements as well as music and costume influences from northern Thailand.

Following the drama, the dance company will perform folk dances representing the ethnic groups from the four major regions of Thailand .

Somapa profile

The Somapa Thai Dance Company, based in Washington, D.C., has performed since 1999 in locations such as the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and at the Smithsonian. Key members of the troupe have more than 30 years of performing experience, trained in Thailand by celebrated dance masters.