Norwegian-Thai dancer to pay tribute to mom with performance at Taipei festival

08/18/2022 07:55 PM
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Photo courtesy of Phitthaya Phaefuang
Photo courtesy of Phitthaya Phaefuang

Taipei, Aug. 18 (CNA) Norwegian-Thai dancer Phitthaya "Sun" Phaefuang said Thursday that his performance at the Taipei Arts Festival next week will embody the concept of gender and also highlight his mother's past as a sex worker.

The 50-minute solo performance, titled "Realness: Luk Kreung," pays tribute to Sun's mother though choreography that features the moves in several categories of the modern dance form known as voguing, Sun told CNA.

In addition, the performance will incorporate concepts such as classical female dance, dharma practice, and walking meditation, Sun said.

"I want to express my understanding and compassion for what my mom went through as a sex worker in Thailand when she was very young and my recognition of her ability to survive," Sun said. "Also, I wish to highlight the huge role migration plays in giving hope for a better future."

Sun said the term "Luk Kreung" in the dance piece's title is usually used in Thailand to describe children in cross-national families, like his.

Born in Thailand in 1988 to a Thai mother and French father, Sun and his twin brother moved to Norway with their mother when they were around 3 years old.

The family's move to Norway was prompted by his mother's romantic involvement with a Norwegian soldier, Sun said, adding that he never knew his biological father.

About nine years later, however, their mother placed the two boys for adoption and returned to Thailand because she was suffering from depression, a part of Sun's history that is depicted in his dance piece.

Sun remained with his adoptive parents and twin brother in Norway and studied at Oslo National Academy of the Arts, where he earned a bachelor's degree in modern and contemporary dance.

In 2012, one year after he graduated, Sun moved back to Thailand, where he has been building a reputation as a trailblazer in the country's voguing scene.

Since 2015, he has been winning competitions in numerous voguing categories, such as sex siren, vogue femme, and runway.

He said the dance piece he will perform next week at the Taipei Arts Festival pays tribute to his mother's life experience, which he also perceives as helping to shape his creativity.

Another aspect of the performance turns the spotlight on the concept of gender, using a combination of vogue femme and traditional female Thai dance moves, Sun said, adding that his goal is to help people see beyond binary genders.

"You're probably going to witness a new gender performance on the stage," he said. "I don't think there is just masculinity and femininity. There is a huge diversity of gender energy, gender performance, and genders."

Sun's "Realness: Luk Kreung" will be staged Aug. 26 and 27 at the Taipei Performing Arts Center (TPAC) for audiences 18 and over, TPAC said, citing nudity in the performance and the reason for the adult rating.

(By William Yen)

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