Segments in this Video

Introduction: Rama and Sita (01:48)


Thailand is steeped in faith— although the main religion of the region is Buddhism, Hinduism and Animism also contributes to the culture. Astrology is popular and the best practitioners are Buddhist monks. Murals adorn temples displaying messages of morality.

End of the Siam Kingdom (01:49)

The Burmese destroyed Ayutthaya in 1767. King Rama I founded the Chakri Dynasty, requested Bangkok be erected, new temples be built, and reinvigorated Thai dance.

Thai Dance (02:40)

The Ramayana centers on the lives of the gods, who possess the same feelings and problems that humans do. Rama I requested a new version be prepared to help his people escape from daily struggles and create their own mythology. The Ramakien evolved to include modern interpretations of the classic tales.

Different Types of Thai Dance (02:46)

In a Khon ballet dialogue is conveyed by singers sitting nearby while dancers perform. The orchestra only conveys melody and is guided by one particular instrument— the king. Watch an orchestra perform.

Khon Ballet (01:38)

By carefully watching each movement of the dancers, the audience is thrilled by its subtlety. Examine three different types of dancers in the Ramakien— the heroes, the demons and the monkeys. Demons and monkeys are masked, while the heroes use makeup.

College of Dramatic Art (04:11)

Children train to become dancers at an early age. Watch female dancers rehearse to enhance flexibility and subtlety.

Male Dancers (02:16)

At a young age, a boy is assigned into one of the three types of khon ballet characters based upon physical appearance and talent. He will perform that type of character for the rest of his life. Watch these dancers rehearse and exercise.

Monkeys (01:39)

Monkeys need to be extremely agile and entertaining. Watch boys try to improve agility.

Demon (04:47)

Demons pose in a specific stance which takes years to master. Watch boys try to improve flexibility.

Rehearsal (02:38)

Rehearsal is essential as it should appear as if the dancers are in unison. With over 68 poses, a good performance becomes great in the subtle improvisation between movements.

Costumes (04:04)

Although costumes occasionally seem alien to present day audiences, Thai dancers obsess about its condition. Watch a demon king dress for a performance.

Singers (01:34)

Singers learn the music from their predecessors and teachers. Watch them rehearse.

Nonduck's Finger: Scene 1 (04:31)

Watch an excerpt of a Thai dance performance.

Nonduck's Finger: Scene 2 (03:43)

Watch an excerpt of a Thai dance performance.

The Abduction of Sita (03:23)

Watch an excerpt from this Khon ballet.

The Abduction of Sita (08:11)

Watch the conclusion of this Khon ballet.

Credits: Rama and Sita: the Study and Performance of Thai Dance (00:43)

Credits: Rama and Sita: the Study and Performance of Thai Dance

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Rama and Sita: the Study and Performance of Thai Dance

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Khon ballet emerged in the 18th century with a reimagined version of the Ramayana. Watch the training and development of young dancers and musicians at the Academy of Music and Dance as well as performances of two stories from the Ramakien. This documentary is narrated my Martin Hossick.

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL114802

ISBN: 978-1-68272-822-2

Copyright date: ©2012

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.