Thailand's Got Talent winner and former vocational student Rajanikara Kaewdee admits he had zero knowledge of the performing arts until he became an intern at the Patravadi Theatre.
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Floating on air
He clings to the red fabric and seems to float, as if he possesses invisible wings. All eyes are on Rajanikara Kaewdee, robust and flame-haired, as he performs his aerial choreography above the stage for the second season of Thailand's Got Talent.
It was the final round of the hit TV show earlier this month. And in the end, the judges and the SMS votes agreed that his gravity-defying, deadly yet artistic show deserved to be crowned the winner.
"It was unbelievable. I never expected to come this far," said the 28-year-old performer from the northeastern province of Sakhon Nakhon, who, according to the show, originally practiced his mid-air spectacle by dangling from trees.
A small boy from Isan who came to Bangkok to further his education, Rajanikara's life turned artistic when he began his internship at the country's celebrated contemporary dance studio Patravadi Theatre.
''I was studying in my last year at vocational school, doing marketing, and I had no idea where to go for an internship. I knew a friend who did an internship at Patravadi Theatre, so he introduced me. Back then, I had no idea what was really going on there. I had zero knowledge about performing arts,'' said Rajanikara, better known by his nickname Leng.
''After a while, I decided to join performing workshops there to kill time until I left the theatre every evening. Later it became serious.''
Years ago, according to Rajanikara, Patravadi Mejudhon, the founder of the Patravadi Theatre, invited an aerial performance instructor to teach her well-known choreographer Manop Meejamrat. This exciting art form inspired Manop to further his training in France, and once he returned to Thailand, he became Rajanikara's first mentor and introduced him to the art of aerial performance.
''Once Manop came back from France, there were about 10 dancers who learned from him. But, in the end, it came down to one, only me, who was still keen to do it,'' he says.
Learning techniques from his instructor, Rajanikara later created his own aerial spectacle. One performance landed him overseas experience when a Canadian circus company invited him to stage his work. Among the audience was a teacher from the National Circus School in Montreal who persuaded him to audition for a class at his institution. Rajanikara was later accepted to study there.
After returning to Thailand, Rajanikara began his career as a freelance performer.
''I have been doing different kinds of performing art, from acrobatics, aerial [work] to stage performance. Thanks to my time in Patravadi Theatre, I have been pushed to learn everything, and in the end, it is definitely rewarding.''
''Patravadi [his mentor] once told me we will never know what talents we have, until we explore our capabilities. That's why students need to learn different forms of art until they know what they can really do or do best,'' he said.
''My wish is to be a teacher. My life has come this far because I have many good teachers. With the prizes (about 10- million-baht worth), I want to open a school where I can teach aerial performing as an artistic performance, as well as a form of exercise,'' he says.
You can read the full, much longer, story here: http://bit.ly/R0GdZF Rajanikara also has his own youtube channel here: http://bit.ly/RViP3U . Below you watch his first appearance on Thailand’s Got Talent in which his mother sees him perform for the first time.
float – to cause to move slowly in the air or on water ลอย
cling – to hold on to something tightly ติดแน่น
fabric – cloth, especially when it is used for making things such as clothes or curtains ผ้าหรือสิ่งทอ
possess – to have or own something ครอบครอง, ถือครอง
invisible – unable to be seen มองไม่เห็น
robust – strong and full of determination แข็งแรง
flame-haired – having hair the colour of fire
aerial – in the air; done in the air ซึ่งอยู่ในอากาศ
choreography – the steps and movements in a particular ballet or show; the art of designing and arranging the steps and movements in dances, especially in ballet การเต้น, การออกแบบท่าเต้น
stage – a raised area, usually in a theatre, etc. where actors, dancers, etc. perform เวที
gravity– the force that attracts objects in space towards each other, and that on the earth pulls them towards the centre of the planet, so that things fall to the ground when they are dropped แรงดึงดูดของโลก
defy – to refuse to obey or accept someone or something ฝ่าฝืน, เป็นปฏิปักษ์ต่อ
gravity-defying – to seemingly be able to go up into the air without being pulled back by gravity สามารถต่อต้านแรงโน้มถ่วง
deserve – of something that you earn or are given because of your behavior or qualities สมควรได้รับ
crown – to give someone the position of being a winner in a sports competition ให้ตำแหน่งแชมป์
originally – the situation that existed at the beginning of a particular period or activity, especially before something was changed อย่างเป็นอันแรก, โดยแรกเริ่ม
spectacle – an exciting and impressive public event or performance; an unusual, exciting, or impressive event or sight การแสดงต่อหน้าสาธารณชน,การแสดง
dangle – to hang or swing freely ห้อยแกว่งไปแกว่งมา
internship – a period of time during which a student or new graduate gets practical experience in a job, for example during the summer holiday/vacation การฝึกงาน
celebrated – famous for having good qualities ที่มีชื่อเสียง
contemporary – belonging to the present time ที่อยู่ในปัจจุบัน, ทันสมัย
vocational school – a school that focuses on providing the skills necessary for particular jobs สถานศึกษาวิชาชีพ โรงเรียนอาชีวศึกษา
nickname – an informal name for someone or something, especially a name which you are called by your friends or family, usually based on your proper name or your character ชื่อเล่น
founder – a person who establishes an institution, business, or organization ผู้ก่อตั้ง
invite – to ask somebody formally to go somewhere or do something เชิญ
inspire – to give people a particular feeling or a desire to do somethng จุดประกาย
mentor – an experienced person who helps someone who has less experience, especially in their job ผู้ให้คำปรึกษา
keen – very interested in activity สนใจอย่างยิ่ง
technique – a method of doing something using a special skill that you have developed เทคนิค, กลวิธี (เฉพาะด้าน)
overseas – connected with foreign countries, especially those separated from your country by the sea or ocean เกี่ยวกับต่างประเทศ, ข้ามทะเล
circus – a group of entertainers, sometimes with trained animals, who perform skilful or amusing acts in a show that travels around to different places คณะละครสัตว์
stage – to organise or perform an activity จัด
audience – the group of people gathered in one place to watch or listen to a play, film, someone speaking, etc. ผู้ชม
persuade – to make someone agree to do something by giving them reasons why they should โน้มน้าวใจ เกลี้ยกล่อม
audition – to give a short performance so that somebody can decide whether they are suitable to act in a play, sing in a concert, etc ทดสอบการแสดง, ทดลองแสดง
freelance – earning money by selling your work or services to several different organisations rather than being employed by one particular organisation ทำงาน อิสระ, บุคคคที่เสนอตนเองเพื่อรับทำงาน
acrobatics – involving balancing, jumping, or turning your body with great skill การแสดงความแข็งแรงและยืดหยุ่นของร่างกายโดยการเล่นห้อยโหนโยนตัวเป็นต้น
rewarding – giving a reward, especially by making you feel satisfied that you have done something important or useful, or done something well ซึ่งให้ผลตอบแทน
talent – a natural ability to be good at something, especially without being taught ความสามารถพิเศษ
capability – the ability to do something ความสามารถ