Traditional Thai and
Kuwang Salee: Spirit and Voice of Nature
Choreographed and directed by Waewdao Sirisook
original music composed and performed by Andrew McGraw and Gusti Sidrata
Original performers: Dewi Aryani, Mylinh Le, Feriyal Aslam, Jenifer Hsu, and Waewdao Sirisook
Mildred Matthias Botanical Gardens, UCLA campus, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Wat Ton Kwaen (Intharawas Temple), Tambol Nong Kwai, Hang Dong District, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Tamarind Village, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Kuwang Salee: Spirit and Voice of Nature is a Lanna contemporary dance theater work inspired by traditional Nothern Thai culture supplemented with vocabulary from various Southeast Asian dance forms. The piece depicts the journey of a "Grandmother" tree, incorporating the Lanna belief of matrilineal and Animist traditions. The choreographer wishes to create an experience for the audience that brings forth a love of, concern for, and commitment to protect Nature. These stem from central themes of Lanna culture and philosophy, namely to protect Nature and have gratitude for its protection of humans. Ceremonies and performances in Lanna always seek to instill these feelings in people of all ages and gender.
Kuwang Salee is conceived as a site-specific work designed for a garden or natural setting. The original performance was set in the Mildred Matthias Botanical Gardens on the UCLA campus, which contains a great variety of plants and landscapes that evoke a sense of the wonder of the natural world. The choreographer believes that people need to be near Nature and have contact with it in order to understand it.