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Bangkok and Farewell West Park

Since my last blog I am a year older, I had to pull out of the first night of Dangerous Liasions, we revised and performed A Christmas Carol, said our good byes to West Park and returned from Bangkok. And yes I am jet lagged !!!

Bangkok was a sucessful trip. We performed at the same festival we performed at five years ago, we were at the same hotel and theatre, and had the same wonderful team looking after us once we got to the crazy city that is Bangkok, or if you are my gran Bank-kok!!!! I'll be honest my heart wasn't filled with joy at the prospect of travelling to the capital of Thailand what with the current political climate (don't get me wrong I love Thailand but I lived in Israel for a year and I don't believe in pushing your luck!), but we have all returned safe and well enough, just a few colds and no injuries, no bad at all.

We got in at 9pm-ish on Thursday evening having left Leeds at 4pm the previous day. By this point in the journey I simply start to fantasise about beds, cups of tea and a shower, small pleasures. We all grabbed our luggage and headed to the coach having been reunited with Tony who was so great last time we were in the Land of Smiles. We all listened to Tony as he explained the need-to-know about the city,timetables and so on. We really do get well cared for out there and it is a real help; Thai people in general are fantastically friendly and hospitable and have a wonderful sense of humour.

Tony managed to talk for the full 40min drive to the hotel from the airport and after just under 24hrs travelling I must admit to not concentrating fully on his animated performance plus I had to concentrate on taking deep slow breaths so as not to suffer from my usual bout of travel sickness. Reasons I hate having Bateman as my surname, I was always first in the line at school when we had to have injections! Reasons I love having Bateman as my surname, I am nearly always first to receive my room key woohoo, bed time?

Graham, Issy and Seb and Graham looking fresh after our first flight Dubai airport!
Waiting in Dubai for our transfer, stretching out and elevating those legs! Yi, Ben, Yoshi and Guiliano and our arrival in Bangkok
Hiro and Josh and a jazzy looking Thai coach!

Zurich Ballet also performed at the festival on Wednesday and Thurday and so, proving once more just how small the Ballet world is, quite a few of Northern Ballet grabbed a drink with their friends from Zurich Ballet as they returned from their performance of Swan Lake. Kenny and I got to spend a couple of hours with our wonderful friend, Arman (we first all meet and danced together in Israel) and Arman's, and now our friend Galina (they both performed Coppellia in last year’s Gala for the Momentum campaign). This was such an added bonus to the trip, we all shared ham and cheese toasties and pots of tea as we attempted to catch-up on the year since we all last saw each other. Finally to bed by 12.30am!

Friday is our free day to do as we please. This is essential as this is our only day off in two weeks and with Swan Lake looming we all need to take care. So having been to Bangkok before I didn't have travellers guilt and felt like I could relax and not run round the city trying to take in all the sights and sounds and temples and tuk-tuk's! I had a long sleep-in, a swim in the pool and a stretch out of my limbs in the gym, a walk around Lumpini Park and then Thai boxing in the evening and dinner at the hotel and bed by 11pm, perfect.

Photos of the Park
Lumpini Park No champagne in the park?
View from the park A Komodo dragon, if you spot one it will bring you good luck!
A hip hop, street dance class. Thai boxers jogging in the park!
Band practice Dragon number two, double luck!
The sun starts to set over Lumpini Third time luckier
Fourth, it's too exciting now!!! Open air park gym
Fifth, and he is sleeping by the way, apparently when their front arms are inverted that means they are in the land of nod

Saturday, coach to the theatre this time Arm was our tour guide, yes Arm. He actually introduced himself as our 'right arm',all we needed while we were in Thailand. He was truly fabulous in every sense of the word, after every show the principle women were presented with fantastic bunches of flowers and when Pippa presented Arm with her flowers, so he could take home to his apartment to enjoy, he looked like he had won the lottery.

So class, then a four hour tech and then the first of two shows. The Thai children we had working with us were a joy and Rym and Dreda did a great job in controlling them! Tiny Tim was actually Tall Tim but sang beautifully, not bad seen as he is only seven and was singing in his second language. The audience seemed to love A Christmas Carol especially the snow and it was nice to be back on a huge stage. Dinner in the hotel and then bed, boring but the sensible thing to do, plus my bed in the Dunsit Thani Hotel is so comfortable.

Luminee Boxing Stadium A special dance the boxers performance before a fight, to give thanks and ask for luck and 'get in the zone'
No comment... Fighting begins
The crowd, who love every minute Advice from the coach and a rub down from the trainer
Good job this is blurry, looks like that punch hurt!
Watching the friends and family is as exciting as watching the fight! Just before 'knock out'

Sunday, coach to the theatre with Arm by our side again, he gave a very descriptive account of our performance and concluded that it was 'Faaabbuuuuuuloussssssssss' Thank you Arm. So class on stage and then just one show at 2.30pm.

Two bits of good news over these days in Thailand, the new building was handed over to us on Friday and after the show on Saturday Mark [Skipper] found out we have been invited back for 2012. Again the performance went well. We said a rather sad good bye to the children and back to hotel by 5.30pm. Kenny and I eat early at the Mango tree (yum!),  did a spot of bartering at Patpong market, had a quick foot massage (well 1 hour of amazing massage at 250 baht about £6.00) and then bed as the prospect of a 5.30am start doesn't fill me with joy!

The hotel opened for breakfast early for us and so we nearly all meet sleepy eyed at 5.45am by 6.40am we were on our way home. I got lucky on the flight and got a fire exit seat on the flight to Dubai and then Kenny and I got three seats between us on the flight from Dubai to Manchester. I managed a bit of sleep and to elevate my legs for nearly the whole time plus I watched four movies! Yet again everyone’s luggage arrived safe and sound in Manchester and then Micky, John, Kenny and I hopped in my trusty Polo and headed home. I was in bed, very gratefully by 10.30pm.

Sorry there aren't more photo's but I forgot to take my charger and by Friday night I had exhausted the battery!

Hotel photos
Another overseas tour, another pool! View from my sun-lounger
Julie and Toby
View from my room More of Bangkok

Tuesday and West Park for 10.30 class with Mr Nixon (I got a good night’s sleep thank goodness), first cast run through of swan lake and same individual rehearsal, a quick trip to Sainsbury’s and then home to prepare shoes and soul for the adventure of Swan Lake. I love this production of Swan Lake the story, the music, the dancing it such hard work but completely rewarding. You get a real sense of achievement at the end to the night just like when you finished the cross country run at school. It may have been painful at times during in it but when it’s done you feel elated. Plus we have new swan costumes!

So today we said good bye to West Park and it was actually sad, I was tempted to cut myself a bit of lino dance floor as a keep sake just like some of the old Wembley turf, I didn't though, who knows what’s under that plastic!!!

Last time of every checking the old cork notice board, Julie, Rym and Anna A nearly empty studio 2
The end of our last class at West Park Bye!
Last rehearsal, Swan Lake John and Georgie
Mr Tindall Anna and Micky enjoy watching
As does, Josh and Nicola and Mimi and Rym Christie says good bye to her beloved bar where she has stood for every class since joining Northern Ballet
More rehearsal Really Bye!!

Till next time,

xoxo

Hannah

The views expressed in blogs are those of the author and not necessarily of Northern Ballet.