Saturday, August 25, 2012

Khantoke Dinner Dance Show

In Chiang Mai we attended the "Khantoke Dinner Dance Show," which is a show of several classical Northern Thai dances accompanied by "Khantoke" dinner.
Fingernail Dance

"Khantoke" is the name of a small-and-low round table on which an elegant meal of many never-ending dishes is served in accordance with Lanna Thai tradition. This tradition is still alive today and khantokes are used as dining furniture at special occasions such as weddings, funerals, housewarmings, and temple festivals.

Khantoke dinner

As you can see in the picture above, my vegetarian khantoke had eight different dishes (fried pumpkin, stir-fried cabbage, fresh veggie salad, crispy fried noodles, tofu in spicy red chili and milder tomato sauces, vegetables in sweat and sour sauce, and fried sweet potato) plus two types of rice (plain and sticky). For dessert we were offered fried rice crispies and fruits. The food was good and plentiful, though a bit on the spicy side.

Candlelight Dance

About one hour into our meal, a classical Thai orchestra started playing and soon it was joined by dancers in traditional Thai costumes.

Beautiful girls in beautiful costumes

I don't want to sound unappreciative of classical Thai music but, to our Western ears, all songs sounded almost the same. Moreover, to our great surprise, all the dances were very slow, and more resembled coordinated slow-motion movement rather than dancing.

Still, it was a beautiful show, very colorful, and definitely worth our time and money.

Magic Fowls Dance

The show lasted slightly longer than one hour. During that time we got to see seven different performances, all but one were by women.

The one show in which a man was performing had slightly faster tempo and it was a bit more exciting, as it involved swords.
A bit faster tempo Sword Dance

Candlelight Dance

The seventh, final dance was the "Ramwong"–Circle Dance, during which the dancers were inviting groups of guests on stage to perform with them. I, of course, never say no to an opportunity of public humiliation, so I gladly joined it. I believe there are even some photos documenting it and once I get them I promise to share them here.
The audience joins in for the Ramwong–Circle Dance

Khob khun ka - Thank you!

That was not the end of the evening, however. After the classical part of the show was over we were invited to another building, where another group of dancers was performing tribal village dances. That second part of the evening was even more entertaining than the first one, but more about it tomorrow.