Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Manorah (National Dance of Thailand):

The Manorah or National dance of Thailand originated in the South of the country (where I am) and is kept alive here in a way that no other part of Thailand practices. As a part of morning exercises before school starts, manorah is occasionally presented by older female student dancers and imitated by the entire school.

Costumes are not worn for this but I do hope to get some photos of a real exhibition where the colorful garments are displayed. (Think "King and I" dancing if you have ever seen that movie. The movie itself is banned from Thailand because it is considered disrespectful to the monarchy.)

Wan Li showed me a book about the dance and I have witnessed a class taught by one of the teachers. Each movement of manorah represents something--such as a lotus blossom unfolding, for which there are three different movements, or a water buffalo.

The movements are combined in a kind of story-telling manner. Often, a poem is illustrated. The movements are exotic and strange to Western eyes, as is the music. But the dance enraptures students and Thais alike. We were provided an entire DVD of a performance because of my interest in the dance. My hope is to see it performed in all of its full glory sometime while I am here.

Watching the students and their concentration as they tried to correctly perform each movement (many of them extremely difficult and requiring excellent balance) was an unexpected delight and surprise on Monday morning.

If you think you are flexible enough, try these movements. (Don't fall over.)

Students frowning in concentration.

Book illustration of manorah.


  1. What a wonderful way to start the day! Why aren't there any photos of you touching your toe to your nose?

    Love the "Teacher Says" game idea. Those kids are going to miss you when you go home, and we feel sorry for the volunteer that has to take your place.

  2. FYI: Photos of me touching my toe to my nose were too blurry to post since I moved when I took it. I know--it's a great loss to the world!

  3. Teacher says: Touch toe to nose. (Will take photos of this instead.)

  4. Games are a great way to incorporate learning. I bet they love you!


  5. Hi: Think I was doing one of those moves in yoga yesterday .... and fell over. Amazing dance. jan