Dance Performances by Chey Chankethya, Baghawan Ciptoning, and Umesh Shetty
“Can You Hear Me? Asian Dance Voices,” an extraordinary evening highlighting the work of three of Asia’s leading dancers and choreographers, will have its U.S. premiere at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, in UCLA’s Glorya Kaufman Dance Theater. The program features the magical imagery of classical Javanese court dance, the drama and physicality of India’s Odissi and Bharata Natyam dance styles, and the deeply moving spirit and intimate experience of Cambodian dance.
Tickets — $16 for general admission and $12 for students with ID — are available through the UCLA Central Ticket Office at (310) 825-2101 or www.ticketmaster.com/venue/90295. Parking costs $8 in Lot 4. (Enter the campus from Sunset Boulevard and Westwood Plaza.) The program is presented by the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures and the UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance and is co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies. The project is a part of the 2006 UCLA/Choreographers Arts Management Fellowship Program (CAM) and is funded by the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Ford Foundation. For further information, the public may call (310) 206-1335 or log on to http://www.wac.ucla.edu/cip/cam/CAMPerformance.html.
The artists performing are Chey Chankethya from Cambodia, Baghawan Ciptoning from Indonesia and Umesh Shetty from Malaysia. Regarded as leading creative forces of classical dance in their countries, they offer a rare compilation of Asia’s dramatic, physical and spiritual dance traditions performed for the first time in Los Angeles. All three are recipients of the 2006 CAM Fellowship and will be in residence in the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures during winter quarter 2006.
About the artists
In a country that is still rebuilding itself after the destruction by the Khmer Rouge, when perhaps 80 percent to 90 percent of traditional artists perished in less than four years, Chey Chankethya has devoted her life to the recovery of Cambodian dance and culture. She also is struggling against the tide of videos and pop songs that threaten to displace classical music and dance. Yet she believes that Cambodia’s dance and culture have a future. She is among the new generation of dancers to be trained by Phnom Penh’s Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) where she now teaches. She is also a fourth-year student of the Royal University of Phnom Penh in the department of English literature. She began the study of Khmer classical dance at the National School of Arts when she was six years old. She obtained her B.A. in choreography with high honors from RUFA in June 2005. Her deep love of Khmer arts, culture and dance has formed her commitment to strengthen RUFA and improve the state of Cambodian arts. Choreographic works include “Preah Kanreach” (2005), a scene of ka kay (2004), “Preah Chinnavong” (2003) and a Ramayana excerpt (2003). An exceptional performer of Khmer classical dance since the age nine, Chankethya has performed in numerous international productions and joined the Cambodia Ballet Royal Troup tour to France, Germany, England, Luxembourg, Belgium, India, South Korea, Japan, China and most Asian countries. She was also a performer in “Realizing Rama” (2001–03). Through this international production, she began to learn about contemporary dance.
Baghawan Ciptoning, a dancer and choreographer from Solo, Indonesia, has trained extensively with some of Surakarta’s finest artists, including revered figures from the Mangkunegaran and Kasunanan Palaces, such as the late S. Ngaliman, Sutjiati, Joko Suharjo S. Maridi, Rono Suripto, Tarwa and Jogomanta. He graduated from the Conservatory for Indonesian Arts and from the Indonesian Academy of Arts (now ISI, Yogyakarta) where he currently serves on the faculty. He also trained under the late master Ben Suharto in the area of spirituality and dance. He has toured his work extensively and performed in India, the United States, Japan, Thailand, Finland and Malaysia. Ciptoning’s work explores an unusual repertoire of classicism and inventive approach to faith and fantasy. He draws inspiration and technique from ceremonial Javanese court dance and richly layers it with imagination and an intimate knowledge of martial arts. In 2005 he was awarded the “Best Dance on Screen” for his production and choreography of “Tamansari.”
Umesh Shetty started formal Indian classical dance training at six years old under his father, the late Master Gopal Shetty, known throughout Malaysia as the Indian danseur extraordinaire. At the Temple of Fine Arts, Umesh received training in Bharata Natyam, Odissi and various folk styles of India. In 1991, he received training in Kathak from Pandita Rohini Bhatte of Pune, India. In 1997, he graduated from the Edith Cowan University, Western Australia, with a bachelor’s degree in performing arts (dance). While there, he trained and performed with forefront choreographers Neil Adams, Chrissy Parrot, Nannette Hassall, Reyes de Lore, Alan Alder, Lucette Aldous and David Prudam. At the Temple of Fine Arts, Umesh has choreographed and performed in major dance productions. Versatile in both classical and contemporary styles, Umesh has distinguished himself as a dancer of note. In 2002, he was awarded Best Solo Dancer for the production “La La Li Tang Pong” by the Cameronian Awards. In 2004, he received awards for Best Group Performance, Best Costume Design and Best Music and Sound Design for “Tandava I.”
The UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures is a one-of-a-kind laboratory for interdisciplinary and intercultural research in the arts — especially concerning culture, performance and dance — with a focus on Los Angeles and the world. Visit http://www.wac.ucla.edu/. The UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance sits within this rich academic environment. Celebrating 10 years of international work in the performing arts, the center serves as a groundbreaking arts/research organization that bridges the university with the world by facilitating and producing international fellowships, residencies and collaboration projects, concerts and festivals, research, and publication and film/video documentation. Visit www.wac.ucla.edu/cip.
Cost: Tickets: $16, $12 for students, $10 WAC students