totally intertwines with the Thailand dance, in the
The Thai traditional dance is
included in the category of the most attractive
traditions and rituals. The experience of seeing the
actors dressed in wonderful costumes and miming the
ancient stories is different, beautiful and hard to
The Thailand drama and the dance
representation used to be allowed in the noble
mansions and imperial courts only. The common Thais
had access to them in the Buddhist monasteries on
Our days, these forms
of arts are under the royal family’s protection in
order to keep their purity.
The division between the Thai dance
and the Thailand drama in the contemporary arts is clear,
the theatres having now more modern productions with
influences from West. Thailand drama, the classical one,
includes a dance drama style called Lakhon, the masked drama
called Khon, a ritual dance that is performed before the
Thai kickboxing and called Ram Muay, shadow plays (Nang
Talung and Nang Yai), the folk dance form called Fawn Thai,
Wai Khru which is performed as a tribute to a teacher, Hun
(with marionettes) and the popular Likay.
The difference in
Likay, Lakhon and Khon are subtle, the dance being
used as a storytelling way. There is no certain
information about the khon’s origins but it is
supposed that the prototype existed in the 14th century CE.
In the khon performances all the actors
have painted masks, excepting the actors who take
the female roles. Until the ‘30s, only the male
actors took the roles.
The Ramakien episodes
are the bases of the performances, with Phra Ram,
the hero, fights with Thotsakan-the villain. The
death of Thotsakan is not portrayed on stage because
it is thought that may bring misfortune.
A chorus accompanied
by a musical group narrates the story in verses and
the dancing style puts accent on the body and the
part of the Thailand drama, lakhon appeared in the Ayutthaya
period and it has two subdivisions: lakhon nai (dance-drama
performed inside the royal court) and lakhon nok (with
performances outside the royal court).
differences between the two Thailand drama styles, such as
differences of costumes, musical accompaniment, dancing
style and of the performed stories.
Ramakien and Unarut are epic poems where the stories of the
lakhon nai are taken from. Is still used to have both the
female and the male parts taken by women and the men can
play the clowns part.
don’t wear masks excepting the demons and the monkeys’ part.
characteristics of this Thailand drama are represented by
the movements of the arms in graceful ways and hand’s
gesture, with the accompaniment of a chorus from offstage
and a little orchestra.
style of the Thailand drama, lakhon nok is a drama-folk
dance mix, with more action and dance movements, scenes of
melodrama and comedy. The basics are on jataka tales,
stories about the Buddha’s past lives.