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We don't want to put a foot wrong for the king; ROYAL APPOINTMENT: Young dancers to perform for Thai head of state.

Byline: By Stephen Hallmark

A COVENTRY dance class is hoping to KO the King of Thailand with a routine from the Far East when His Majesty visits the city.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej is coming to England next month to watch the King's Cup world championship boxing tournament, which is being held in his honour at the Ricoh Arena.

And to give Thailand's monarch a proper Coventry welcome, the event's promoter Kevin Houston has invited dancers from the Sylvia Bird Dance School to put on a show.

The troupe, aged from 11 to 35, will be performing a traditional Thai dance - complete with costumes flown in from the Far East - and an English piece.

Becky Roberts, of Binley Road, Binley, Coventry, has been a member of the dance school since she was two.

The 18-year-old, who works at Next, said: "I am really nervous about performing in front of royalty and would hate to do anything wrong. I've danced for Cherie Blair before, but never before a king."

Her pal Sophie Pearson, aged 13, of Wykeley Road, Wyken, Coventry, added: "I love dancing, it's great fun, but I'm quite scared of dancing for King Bhumibol."

However, Sylvia Bird, dance teacher, is supremely confident in her girls' ability. She said: "It's a tremendous opportunity. I've visited Thailand and seen the king, although obviously I didn't meet him, when I was learning about Thai dancing.

"I'm not nervous because I have total faith in my girls."

Coventry-based promoter Mr Houston has organised the competition and dinner to celebrate the king's birthday.

He said: "I immediately thought of Sylvia because she taught my daughters Stacey and Tiffany how to dance and I saw them perform the King and I which has always stuck with me.

"It will mean far more to the king to see the girls perform than receive a token present."

Former British champion Roy Rutherford, from Coventry, is having a title clash against Jackson Asiku, and shares top billing with Rugby-based Harry Ramogoadi and Yoddamrong Sithyodthong, from Thailand, for the vacant WBF featherweight belt.

REVERED AS A SEMI-DIVINE FIGURE

ALSO known as Rama IX, the King of Thailand (above) has reigned since 1946, which makes him the world's longest-serving current head of state and the longestserving monarch in Thai history.

King Bhumibol uses his great wealth to fund numerous development projects, particularly in rural areas, and is immensely popular in Thailand, where many revere him as a semi-divine figure.

TICKETS for the event, which takes place on Tuesday, December 5, are available from 024 7636 6339. For further information log on to www.kings-cup.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

DJ271006THAI_3 SHOWTIME... Becky Roberts goes through some of the moves she and her fellow dancers will perform. Picture: Joe Bailey
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 2, 2006
Words:458
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