KHON DANCE – THAILAND

KHON DANCE, THAILAND

Performed mainly by “masked” men is a Southeast Asian dance form known as Khon. This “theatrical” dance style is said to have originated from Thailand. This dance comprises of theatrical elements, and comprises of four main characters namely the hero, the heroine, the ogre, and the monkey. Furthermore, the dance movements involved in the Khon is known to be extremely realistic. Although, this dance style was traditionally performed only by men, there exists a female version referred to as “Khon phu ying” as of today.

a. History/origin of the Khon:

According to the cultural history of Thailand, this dance style was created taking inspiration from the great Hindu mythological epic Ramayana. Furthermore, this dance essentially captures the true essence of the fight against evil that Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman had to undertake to get back Sita from the clutches of her abductor Ravana, the Lord of Lanka. Furthermore, it comprises of elements belonging to yet another dance style called “Lakhon Nai”.

b. Costumes used in the Khon:

The costumes worn in this dance style include traditional Thai costumes and as well as extremely colourful masks.

c. Music involved in the Khon:

An ensemble known as the Piphat, is mainly used in this dance form. Furthermore, this ensemble basically comprises of wind and percussion instruments.

d. Training availability and the technique involved in the Khon:

In terms of technique, this dance involves the use of body movements such as back flips. Furthermore, since this dance is basically “theatrical” it comprises of four characters namely the hero and heroine who represents the good, an ogre who represents the evil side of humanity, and the monkey a key supporting character involved in this dance. In addition, performers are cast in the role of the monkey depending on their agility, since being agile is the key characteristic required by the performer in this dance . As for training centers/schools, there are none available around the world since this “theatrical” dance is mainly performed in Thailand.

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