首頁

關於華報

主編的話

華報電子版面閲讀下載

刋登廣吿

發行訂閲

招聘職位

聯係我們

 
 

 

克城消息

   
 

The Force of Destiny With a Happy Ending in our Times

The Remarkable Story of An Asian and American Artist Uniting to Spread the Wonder of the Artistry of Dance

 

 

Cynthia Marek Lundeen

 

Dear Readers,
I have the most remarkable story to tell you. It is the story of two people, separated by time, distance and culture, whose story has not only a happy ending, but who now work together, as this loving couple says, to “transform lives through culture and collaboration.”
Pla, the Lovely Thai Classical Dancer
When I first met Suwatana Rockland, the lovely Thai dancer, teacher, choreographer, and costume designer, I was fascinated by her story which reminded me of the title of the Italian opera La Forza del Destino, but with a happy ending. This opera, translated into English as The Force of Destiny or The Power of Fate, tells the tale of two star crossed lovers which ends in tragedy, yet for the happily married Suwatana, known as “Pla” and her husband Jeffrey, it seemed that nothing short of the Force of Destiny could have brought together two people separated by oceans, culture, philosophy, religion and language.
Currently studying at Kent State University to earn her Master of Fine Arts Degree, Pla had shown me newspaper articles from her native Thailand honoring her talent as a dancer, actress, teacher and choreographer. Having achieved fame within her own country, what could have induced her to abandon a successful career and move to the United States? In the West we might say that it was Cupid, the ancient mythological god of love, but this love would wait a decade to fulfill its destiny.
A Dashing American Ballet Master Travels to Thailand
Visiting Thailand as a Ballet Master, for Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Jeffrey Marc Rockland first met Pla at Thai Cultural Center in Bangkok while giving a Master class for Patravadi Dance-Theatre. Soon after Jeffrey visited Patravadi-Dance Theatre as a guest choreographer and teacher. The artistry of his work touched Pla deeply, yet communication was difficult as neither spoke the other’s native language. Jeffrey, however, had a good command of the French language, and as Pla had some knowledge of French, they spoke in this language, also known as the language of love. When it was time to depart, Jeffrey gave Pla his mother’s phone number … and the years of subtle longing began.
Separation and Flourishing Careers
As Pla’s career flourished, so too did Jeffrey’s. A soloist in the U.S. and abroad, Jeffrey’s acclaim as a Ballet Master brought requests from cities worldwide for him to give master classes and lectures. Jeffrey was then invited to the University of California, Irvine where he taught for the University as well as several professional schools while completing his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Immediately upon completing his MFA, Jeffrey began a ten year period in Colorado where he was Associate Professor and the Founding Artistic Director of three dance organizations still in existence today.
Reuniting: Dreams and Destinies Fulfilled
And then came the phone call from Pla to Jeffrey as she had a student who she believed could be most helped by the expertise, skill and knowledge that only Jeffrey could offer. Pla explained to me that it is common for families to live together in Asia, but that when she phoned Jeffrey’s mother she found that he was not living there. His mother provided Pla with the correct phone number and when she spoke with Jeffrey, she was surprised to learn that at that time he had taken a hiatus from his beloved career. But Fate was ready to take a hand and Jeffrey did travel to Thailand to instruct the student, yet Pla by this time was engaged to be married to another man.
Meeting Jeffrey again, Pla knew she must break her engagement, but her father was skeptical as might be expected of a father wishing to protect his daughter. After all, she is Buddhist, Jeffrey is Jewish, their native lands are separated by oceans and they could barely communicate with spoken words. Never-the-less, the unspoken words prevailed, and Jeffrey’s father advised him to follow his heart.
Today while Pla completes her master’s program at Kent State University, Jeffrey is not only an Associate Professor there as well, he is the Founding Artistic Director of East Meets West, a program including collaboration between Kent State University and Suan Sunanha Rajabhat University, with instructional courses, cultural exchange field trips between students of Kent State and Thailand as well as live performances of international dance.
It was at a recent performance, Dance ’17 Mosaic, produced under the artistic direction of Jeffrey Marc Rockland that I had the opportunity to see visually stunning and thoroughly captivating classical dance from various regions of Thailand, including the Gingala bird dance, Peacock dance, Kinnaree bird dance and Nora dance. The images which you see accompanying this article, while still images, none-the-less display the movement and grace of these dances. The sumptuous costumes were a veritable feast for the eyes with the classical music transporting the listener through time.
True to its name, Dance ’17 Mosaic included performances both historic and modern and ranged from those which were deeply thought provoking to those which calmed the senses.
Producing exceptional art and spreading the joy of that art across cultures and countries fulfills the dreams and destinies of the hero and heroine of our story, along with the bliss they now experience from their blended family.
Drama on a Grand Scale with a Fairytale Romance Ending
It is a final interesting irony to note that at the age of four, Jeffrey played the character of Sasha in the award-winning film adaptation of Dr. Zhivago, the classic Russian novel set against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution.
While many life lessons may be learned from great drama, who would rather not personally experience a fairytale ending?
Perhaps the story of Pla and Jeffrey combines elements of both, with all of the grandeur and artistry of a great opera and the happy ending of a fairytale romance.
*****
For More information on East Meets West, see:
http://www.jeffreymarcrockland.com/east-meets-west---kent-state-in-thailand.html
Special Credits
The beautiful professional photographs from Dance ’17 Mosaic are credited to Andrea Hallgren
Kinnara-Kinnaree Credits Choreography: Sun Tawalwongsri; Costume Liaison: Suwatana Pla Rockland; Dancers: Pakhamon Hemachandra, Wanasak Padungsestakit, Apirak Sarapee, Sun Tawalwongsri, Pakorn Atanthee, Rangsima Srinarang, Kitiya Choojun, Thadchakorn Nantharattanachai; Lighting Designer: Cory Sprinkles; SSRU Stage Mangement: Kusuma Teppharak, Pukkaporn Pimsarn;
Music: Kent State University Thai Ensemble, founded by Terry E. Miller, Ph.D.; Music Director: Priwan Nanogkham, Music Assistant Director: Nattapol Wisuttipat, Musicians: Andy Martinez, Charlie Occhipinti, Denise Dupree, Elizabeth Recob, Haochen Qin, Jiaqi Sun, Jie Cao, Kayla Raville, Khadija Mohammed, Lydia Snyder, Xiaorong Wang

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

 

 

返回主页