The new ballet “The Lives of Giants” that choreographer Sophiline Shapiro will present in rehearsal Saturday prior to taking it on tour in the US has been two years in the making, she said.
Turning the first chapter of the Reamker-Cambodia’s version of the Indian epic tale Ramanaya-into a Cambodian classical ballet had been a dream of hers for a long time. This tour, which will involve six stops on both coasts of the US, was the opportunity she had been looking for, she said on Thursday.
“I’m trying to understand why people take revenge on each other: How does the cycle of abuse start and how do we end it,” she said.
The story is about a giant who guards the temple of the Hindu deity Shiva and gets teased and abused by deities who come to the temple. After complaining to Shiva, he gets a magical finger enabling him to injure a deity by pointing his finger at him. This starts a cycle of abuse leading to the giant’s death.
Ms Shapiro, however, chose to end her ballet on a happy note to make her message better understood, she said.
“I think that force is not a way to solve problems. We can use weapons but it should be under supervision of compassion, knowledge, tolerance and a sense of moral responsibility,” she said. “Otherwise, the abuse will continue, the weak will keep on seeking revenge against the powerful, and so on.”
This ballet is in the Cambodian classical dance form, but with some contemporary modifications. Costumes are modern versions of traditional concepts, but in colors meant to maintain the “serenity” of the classical look, Ms Shapiro explained.
Saturday’s rehearsal will take place at 9 am at Ms Shapiro’s Khmer Arts Ensemble’s open theater in Takhmao. Admission is free.
This will be Ms Shapiro’s 12th tour and sixth one in the US. A second group from her company will perform her ballet “Seasons of Migration” this month on Reunion Island.