Danish gymnasts on tour in Southeast Asia

The National Danish Performance Team (NDPT) on December 18 arrived in Chiang Mai to entertain Thai schoolchildren, students and families, starting from the north to the south of the country, as part of its World Tour 2003-2004. The tour also includes, after Thailand, similar activities in Malaysia and Singapore.
     The team in the World Tour 2003-2004 – which consists of 28 skillful gymnasts who are mostly in their early twenties and participating as true amateurs – is led by team leaders Rie Toftgård Nielsen and Erick Morales Hansen and tour manager Anders Christian Amstrup. The tour started out in Denmark in September before taking off to South Africa, Australia, Japan, China and then Thailand.
     In Thailand, the Danish gymnasts had altogether 11 performances beginning with a show at Keremark Thavee School in the northernmost province of Chang Rai which was warmly attended by some 3,000 schoolchildren.
     The gymnastics show is a one-and-a-half to two-hour event, displaying a variety of modern rhythmic gymnastics, artistic vaulting and tumbling with colourful show items. The entire programme is a team effort and is accompaniment of carefully selected music adapted especially for the various activities. Routines and costumes also vary continuously throughout the show.
     Before travelling to Nakhon Sawan Province for their second performance at Nakhon Sawan Sports College, the gymnastics troupe had a chance to appreciate the nature and beauties of Northern Thailand.
     “We went trekking in the rainforest in the Northern Thailand. It was a fantastic experience to sail in small boats, to ride on elephants and to walk on foot. At the end of the (sightseeing) trip we went bathing in a rather cool waterfall,” wrote tour manager Anders Amstrup to readers of NDPT website <http://www.dgi.dk/verdensholdet/english/>.
     After the first two shows, the team elebrated a Christmas in Nakhon Sawan with all the elements of a Danish Christmas – dinner, Christmas tree, Christmas presents, Christmas sermon, with the only exception for the snow.
     The team then moved on to Suphan Buri Province for three performances – at Suphan Buri Sports College, U-Thong District and Beung Chawak Aqauriam Park.
     From Suphan Buri, the team stopped over in Bangkok, where they also had time for a Danish Christmas lunch at Danish-owned Stable Lodge and a chance to see the night life of Bangkok.
     Down south in Krabi Province, the team gave a performance at Ao Luk School in Krabi Province. In this province of backpackersÕ paradise they had a good time celebrating the New Year on the beach before moving further south to Phatthalung Province for the last five shows in Thailand – one at Papayompittayakom School, three at Satree Phatthalung Primary School, and the other at Maikre Primary School.
     From north to south, the NDPT team members seemed to enjoy the Thai part of their World Tour very much.
     “We have met a lot of very nice people and a great hospitality all over the country,” said Anders Amstrup, adding that he was sure that a lot of the team members would come back to Thailand.
     From their last stop in Thailand at Phatthalung, the team on January 8 travelled to Malaysia, where they were scheduled to perform 10 shows during their three-week stay in the country: January 9 at Stadium Utama Negeri Perlis; January 12 at Dewan Tuanku, KOMTAR; January 14 and 15 at Stadium Indra Mulia, Ipoh; January 17 and 18 at Stadium Putra, Kuala Lumpur; January 20 at Stadium Melawati, Shah Alam; January 23 at Unitata Field, United Plantation Bhd, Teluk Intan; January 24 in Teluk Intan; and January 27 at Stadium Tertutup, Bandar Indera Mahkota, Kuantan.
     “Here in Malaysia a lot of people are on their toes to make our stay a success. The media attention on the team is immense. Officially we are invited by the Malaysian Gymnastics Federation, but everything is arranged by central authorities in the different provinces, and it means that everything goes easy,” said Anders Amstrup.
     The team will wrap up its South East Asian leg of the World Tour with another week in Singapore, where they will also have a performance, before flying to the US, then back to Denmark and finalize the tour in Europe.
     In most of the cities and town the team visit, the team also arranges workshops for schoolchildren and teachers.
     NDPT is a part of a non-profit organization with Queen Margrethe II of Denmark as protector. The team was founded in 1993 by the Danish Gymnastics & Sports Association (DGI) to promote an awareness of Danish gymnastics tradition abroad, through spectacular performances of gymnastics, rhythmical sequences, dance and advanced tumbling. It aims to contribute to a cultural understanding through performances and workshops.
     For more information and updates about NDPT World Tour 2003-2004, please visit: http://www.dgi.dk/verdensholdet/english/.

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