Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fawn Leb Dance

In addition to being a significant religious attraction, Wat Phra Doi Suthep outside of Chiang Mai has cultural offerings.

On the day of our visit, two university students were performing classical Thai dances in the courtyard that surrounded the various buildings of the Wat complex. There was also an orchestra of 7 younger students of approximately high school age playing traditional Thai instruments to accompany the dancers.

Of the various dances performed, my favorites were the "Tee Dance" or "Umbrella Dance" which we had previously seen performed at the Khantoke Dinner and Show and the "Fawn Leb" Dance.

For the "Fawn Leb", a Northern Thailand dance style, the dancers wear 6 inch long brass fingernails on their fingers to accentuate the movements of their hands. The intent of the "Fawn Leb" dance is to reflect the beauty, calm, and peacefulness of the Northern Thai (Lanna) people. The long fingernails extend the supple fingers of each dancing thus emphasizing the graceful movements or both their arms and hands.

The dancers wore their hair in the chignon style accentuated with a yellow floral tiara along with a chain of jasmine flowers. Their silk costumes were traditional, simple and elegant - all of which complimented the grace, beauty, and elegance of the performance.

The orchestra wore plain and simple farmer style clothing - heavy cotton yellow tunics with a black wrap around cotton belt and loose cotton green trousers. They played various string, wind, and percussion instrument to accompany the dancers.

It was all very beautiful, emotionally uplifting and memorable.

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