0719 Regional dances (south)

          The Nora is a traditional dance of South Thailand (in South Thai language called the "Chatri"), whose origins lie in various legends of which there are different versions. The choreography of the Nora dance varies from region to region, but is generally composed of 12 positions and 17 movements.

          Nora Tua Oon · This very refined version of the Nora requires great interpretive skills and experience. To learn this Nora it must be studied from a very young age, so that the body can achieve the flexibility necessary to execute the complicated movements. The female dancers, in fact, follow a demanding exercise regime and a strict discipline.

          Ram taeng Kae ·This is another elaborate Nora dance that requires great interpretative gifts. On the stage the protagonist launches a harpoon at the crocodile, whose back, lit by candles, is made from the trunk of a banyan tree. The female dancer moves round the writhing crocodile, poised to pierce its head at the right moment.

          Ram Nora Son Ram ·This is a basic posture, which is executed by concentrating on hand arm and shoulder movements, and on the equilibrium and movement of various parts of the body, and is accompanied by rather long lyrics.

          Ram Kien Pral - Yieb Louk Manao - Ram Ko Soet · This advanced level of the Nora dance is usually performed during a competition between two groups of dancers. To intimidate the rival group, a male dancer strikes an effigy. In the version known as Yleb Louk Manao, the female protagonist stamps on three lemons symbolizing the hearts of the rivals. The dance is performed as a sign of victory. In the next dance the female protagonist asks the pran, the comical hunter, to give her a headdress as a symbol of her victory. This is a ceremonial ritual carried out to dishonor rivals and to encourage the members of the group, and is characterized by a certain sacredness, as can be seen from the style of the dance.

          Ram Nora Bot Pratom · This choreography uses another basic posture, in which hand, arm and shoulder movements are synchronized with those of the head.

          Ram Ooak Pran* · In the company that performs a Nora, the pran or hunter plays the part of the fool. He usually wears a hunter's mask or headdress. His movements are often amusing, and designed to make the audience laugh. Each position is in harmony with the dynamic rhythm of the music.

          Ram Nora Klong Hong · This advanced level of Nora is performed only on important occasions. The female protagonist plays the role of Hong or Kinnaree - a legendary creature who is half woman and half bird. According to a celebrated Nora teacher, this episode is partly based on the legend of Prasuton-Manora. The seven Kinnaree are playing in the lake in the middle of a wood. Struck by their beauty and lightheartedness, Pran Boon, the hunter, chases the maidens in an attempt to catch the youngest. The lively harmonious movements perfectly evoke Pran Boon's pursuit of the Kinnaree as she tries to escape.

          Ram Nora Tam Bot - Ram Ooak Pran* · In this dance the hand movements evoke the beautiful scenery of Songkla Province, in South Thailand. The verses of the song are accompanied by a very lively rhythm.

          Thai classical dance drama include Khon, Lakhon, and Fawn Thai. Folk dance forms include dance theatre forms like Likay, numerous regional dances (Ram), the ritual dance Ram Muay, and homage to the teacher, Wai Khru. Both Ram Muay and Wai Khru take place before all traditional Muay Thai matches. The Wai is also an annual ceremony performed by Thai classical dance groups to honor their artistic ancestors.

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