The Thailand Royal Ballet will begin its tour in Saint Petersburg at the Theatre of Musical Comedy tonight. As a Rosbalt correspondent was informed by the press office of the Thai Consul in Saint Petersburg, the ballet company will give four performances in Saint Petersburg.
The best traditions of Thai ballet dancing will be on display in the programme including khon (a kind of dance pantomime) and lakhon (a dance drama) as well as Thai national dances. The dancing is accompanied by a 'piphat' (classical) orchestra. Most members of the company graduated from the Thai drama college of the Department of Fine Arts. There are currently 700 artists and dance instructors from the Department of Fine Arts working in Bangkok, the rest of Thailand and in 50 other countries. Dancers begin training at a young age. By the age of 9 or 10 dance instructors are able to determine which roles they will go on to play during their dancing career.
The khon company has only been to Saint Petersburg once, in 1900. On that occasion they performed at the Alexandrinsky Theatre and the Mariinsky Theatre on the following night.
The Royal Ballet was founded several centuries ago as part of the royal entourage and often performed in front of kings and princes. Traditionally the ballet company has been considered a kind of theatre for the aristocracy: it is known for the elegance of its dancing and the quality of its masks and costumes. The Royal Ballet aims to maintain the national heritage in dancing and music.