ROMVONG DANCE – THAILAND
Performed by both “males and females” is a Southeast Asian dance form known as Romvong. This “folk” dance is said to have originated from Thailand, and is extremely popular in Laos and Cambodia as well. This dance style is commonly performed by ethnic groups belonging to Cambodia such as Phnong, Krung, Tampuan, and Prou. Furthermore, this dance style is “rhythmically” slow and is usually performed during festive occasions. In addition, this dance involves the use of extremely “graceful and elegant” feet and hand movements.
a. History/origin of the Romvong:
According to the cultural history of Thailand, this form of dancing was first developed during the World War II when the country experienced tough times. Furthermore, it was the then Prime minister/military dictator Plaek Phibunsongkhram who encouraged both Thai males and females to perform this dance as a way of dealing with the melancholic atmosphere that had surrounded the country during this period. Additionally, the military dictator also during this period had implemented a policy known as “Thaification”, which generally focused on improving the popularity of Thai based dances, rather than non-Thai ones such as foxtrot and waltz which were fast becoming popular in the country, and hence encouraged the people to perform this native folk dance on a regular basis.
b. Costumes used in the Romvong:
The costume used in this dance style is extremely elaborate and is traditionally Thai. Furthermore, it also comprises of glittering headdresses.
c. Music involved in the Romvong:
The musical instrument mainly used in the music is the Thon, a form of a drum.
d. Training availability and technique involved in the Romvong:
In terms of technique, this dance involves the use of graceful hand and feet movements. Furthermore, the performers i.e. a couple move their folded palms from behind the body to the face up front all the while bending the fingers to the rhythm of the music. However, it must be noted that the hands move in opposite direction. In addition, the feet of the performers also move in rhythm with music in the opposite direction. As for training centers/schools, there are none available since this “folk” dance is mainly performed in Southeast Asian countries that include Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.