Thai dance, like many forms of traditional Asian dance, can be divided into two major categories that correspond roughly to classical dance and folk dance. The folk versions are subtly different, and vary from region to region, the main areas being The Central Region, The Northeast, The North and The South.
The Classical form of courtly dance originated in 1431, when the Thais conquered the ancient Khmer capital of Angkor and took as part of their booty an entire corps de ballet - dancers whose performances had once been seen as a symbolic link between nature, earth and the realm of the gods. In the beginning this was exclusively court entertainments and it was not until much later that regional styles of dance-theater evolved as a diversion for the common folk who had no access to royal performances.
Thai Dance Shows
Koh Samui doesn’t have a focal point where you can explore any of these aspects of Thai dance such as a theatre or dance school although you’ll get a chance to see them almost everywhere! Virtually every hotel and resort arranges at least one evening a week where they will ‘import’ a dance troupe for an hour, as part of the diner’s entertainment. However, quite often this is more for show than anything else, and often with the performers being local school children, although there is no doubt that the show is entertaining.
Perhaps the nearest thing to a ‘centre’ for dance is to be found in Bo Phut, in Fisherman’s Village, where the Siam Classic Bo Phut offers things the ‘other way round’ – an evening of Thai dancing with dinner to go with it! Their trained dancers and actors work under a choreographer who has performed for the Royal Family at the National Theatre in Bangkok. The show starts at 7.30 and there’s a wide range of choice on the accompanying menu. This is an excellent show, and a great evening out if you’re interested in finding out more about Thai dance.
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