Thai Traditional Dance Forms

Thai traditional dance forms

Thai traditional dance forms are an essential element of Thai culture and heritage. A variety of classical and folk dances are performed at theater, festivals and social events across Thailand.

Khon and Lakhon dances are two primary classical forms. Khon was traditionally performed only for members of the Royal Family and still stands as one of the highest art forms today.


Khon is one of the most spectacular Southeast Asian dance-drama traditions, featuring over one hundred actors, an elaborate piphad orchestra, narrators, singers, chorus members and elaborate costumes and masks that portray demons, monkeys, humans and celestial beings.

Thai classical dancing, known as Lanna, was initially only practiced at the royal court. Over time it has become one of the highest art forms and is now performed throughout Thailand as entertainment and culture.

The Khon is one of the most stylised and dramatic Thai dance forms, having performed episodes from Ramakien national epic drama since 18th century. Accompanied by narrators, this form of dance-drama tells its tale through gestures and movements.

An impressive khon performance provides audiences with a breathtakingly complex choreographed show, which can be challenging for dancers. They move in sync to the music, timing each step perfectly so as not to misstep or do something unplanned at the wrong moment.

These movements can be very graceful and beautiful. Thai culture holds this tradition dear, and people want to keep this practice alive.

Thailand boasts many forms of dance, with masks an integral part of each style. Khon and lakhon dance styles are two popular examples, although other dance forms exist too.

Khon dance, commonly referred to as masked pantomime, is perhaps the most widely performed form of Thai dance. Actors do not speak their lines but use hand gestures instead in this art form that dates back centuries. This form of dancing has long been revered and revered throughout its long history.

While beautiful, Khon dance can be challenging and requires intensive training for its performance. Dancers must possess strength and agility in order to perform its intricate steps.

One must learn songs and lyrics before performing in front of an audience, taking time and dedication. Since they cannot speak directly in front of them, singing must become second nature to them.

Deliberate practice of Khon Acting and Dance can be extremely demanding; it requires both talent and hard work from those performing it. Men typically play different characters in this dance form while wearing intricate costumes to represent them as their characters.

These costumes can be expensive to create, making it hard for their makers. Each costume must be perfectly constructed with all of the necessary parts required to complete it.

Khon dance used to be performed only by members of Thailand’s royal family; today however, many more people participate in its practice. Still considered one of Thailand’s highest art forms and considered essential in keeping Thai culture alive.