Monday, March 9, 2009


Thailand traditional dance is one of the most beautiful and unique features about the people of the country. It is a very graceful feature about the nation and well reflects the nature of the character of the Thai people.

The dance consists of men and women in elaborate and exquisitely beautiful court costumes performing a mime of the legends and stories of Thailand is a fascinating and educational experience. The tales told were first prepared and executed as entertainment for the king and his court, but today are a delight that allows even the most jaded audience to feel privileged.

The formal dance movements are very detailed and precise. There are exactly 108 base movements of the body. At all times, the body must remain precisely upright between the neck and the hips. The up and down movement is accomplished by using the knees and by stretching to the music's rhythm.

Much symbolism and significance is shown by complicated and elaborately executed movements of the fingers and the entire hand. At times, artificially designed fingernails up to six inches in length are added to emphasize the movements. These nails enhance the effect and add splendor to the exquisitely designed ornate dancer's costumes.

The entire effect is both hypnotic and memorable adding to the entire experience of Thailand
The Thailand dance is accompanied by a traditional musical ensemble who plays unique musical instruments. These instruments include the ranad (a floor height xylophone made of wood), a sa-law (a bowed instrument which is played by drawing a violin-type bow across the string). The remaining instruments are two flutes made of bamboo, known as a phin pia and a khlui. There typically is five to seven musical instruments. The melody is played at a medium tempo and has a steady almost metronomic beat. It is pleasant and charming to listen to, providing just right background entertainment for dining.
Other Thailand dance forms are more of the folk dance variety, performed with exuberance and excitement by the hill people.
Without a doubt, the western forms of dance have invaded and perhaps ruined the traditional Thailand dance forms. The precision, training and dedication to exacting hand and body movements mean that few people will take the time to master this tradisional dance, while with most modern Western dance, merely moving to the beat of the music qualifies as dancing.
It is to be hoped that young people will retain the beauty and grace of the traditional forms of Thailand dance as a cultural heritage to pass on to the next generation.