Classical dance-drama embodies sacred rites and Thai thespians believe they must succumb to their charactersí spirit. Before every show, cast and crew convene for a wai khru rite to honour their masters. Many times daily, devotees thank the spirits at Lak Muang and the Erawan Shrine by commissioning resident dancers to do an excerpt of Lakhon Chatri, a typically slow, mannered dance derived from the Malay-influence Manohra repertoire. No wonder Thai dance is so beguiling; it channels the gods.

Catch one of the following:

Khon The most intricate and venerated genre, masked dance. Episodes are seen at weekly shows in Sala Chalermkrung, with excerpts at Sala Thai restaurant.
Phichet Kluncheun Internationally lauded it modernises Khon at festivals and Chang Theatre (Pracha Uthit Soi 59, 08 1985 0281, www.pklifework.com). Thereís a Khon Museum at Suan Pakkard Palace.
Lakhon (drama) has two main threads:
Lakhon Nok Rousing, melodramatic, and formerly all-male.
Lakhon Nai More refined, and once an all-female court repertoire.
Peeramon Chomthavatís authentic troupe Aporn Ngam appears at Bangkok Theatre Festival (see festivals & events in Bankok) and Origin.
Likay A brash folk opera, which blends literature, fables and comedy. Itís now limited to temple fairs, fusions with morlam music and topical interpretations 
by Makhampom at BTF (see festivals & events in Bangkok) and its Makhampom Studio (Saphan Kwai intersection, 0 2616 8473, )

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