Dance Around The World – Chiang Mai, Thailand
For the last leg of my Dance Around The World adventure, my husband and I traveled to the beautiful country of Thailand in Southeast Asia. We spent a few days sightseeing in Bangkok and then headed north to Chiang Mai. I’m not going to lie; now that we’re in our six month of traveling, I’m getting pretty cranky. Although we had just arrived in this charming city, all I wanted to do sit in my hotel room and see what all my friends back home were up to on Facebook. My adventurous husband, on the other hand, couldn’t bear the thought of possibly missing something, so I encouraged him to explore while I immersed myself in social media.
About an hour later, Dan came back and demanded that I stop being homesick. Turns out he discovered a festival and people were dancing! Needless to say, we were out the door in five minutes flat, skipping over cockroaches, wiping the sweat from our brow from the hot humid night, and hearts pumping with excitement, afraid it might be over by the time we got there. As we neared the festival, the street smelled of fish sauce and spring rolls from the food vendors. People selling lotus flowers and ornate flower arrangements marked the entrance, and as we turned the corner, I saw the most amazing sight. Several temples and the grounds all a glowed with hundreds of candles and flowers. The festival was full of smiling locals packed in close enjoying the festival. We squeezed through the crowd to where he saw the dancing before and passed a stage were a young girl in a fine silk and tulle costume that surrounded her tiny figure belted out Dolly Parton’s, “I Will Always Love You”. I wasn’t sure what to expect after I saw that sight, but I had hopes of seeing something pretty spectacular and hopefully less of an American influence.
When we arrived at the spot where Dan had seen the dancing, it was clear I had just missed it. An incredible sadness overwhelmed me, and I couldn’t help but beat myself up for not exploring with Dan earlier. Then I noticed a large group of teens all dressed in white beginning to line up. Suddenly a gentle “ping, ping, ping” from a cymbal sounded, and people slowly formed a clearing. A young man emerged and with a gracefully circular arc hit a large drum, and began DANCING!!!
With his cat like leaps, the dancer jumped to and from the drum with such quiet and quick movement, a ballet dancer would have been in awe. Just when I thought it was ending, two male dancers joined him with cymbals in both hand. Their dance was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was a perfect blend of martial arts, capoeira, ballet, and music. I’ve tried to research what this amazing dance could have been, but have come up with just loose ends. All I know is that it was AMAZING… and it was at the Inthakin Festival. I’m so grateful the dancing wasn’t over and was able to witnessed the love, precision, and talent of these dancers. Luckily, I also captured some on video too. I hope you enjoy the dance as much as did, and if you know the name of this dance style please let me know!
Over the river, and through the woods, to discover more dance I go!
– The Offbeat Ballerina