UNESCO recognises performance style from South Thailand

Nora dancer, Photo by UNESCO.

UNESCO has recognised a unique performance style from South Thailand. The organisation’s Facebook page posted a cover photo of a Nora performer, with the caption, “We are #LivingHeritage.”

Nora has deep cultural and social significance for southern Thais. It is known for its unique style of singing and dancing. Nora performers are known for their signature long, curled metal fingernail tips.

UNESCO recognises performance style from South Thailand | News by Thaiger
FB: Thummanit Nikomrat.

Thailand has been safeguarding the Nora drama dance through the promotion of Nora performers and masters. Thailand has also promoted stages of performance, practice, and knowledge to transfer the art form to the next generation.

The recognition from UNESCO is expected to further promote the Nora drama dance on the global stage. UNESCO’s Facebook page has more than 1.7 million followers from around the world.

Many Thais and foreigners visiting the page admired the image and congratulated Thailand on having such a beautiful tradition. With this international recognition, the Nora drama dance is set to become even more renowned around the world.

UNESCO recognises performance style from South Thailand | News by Thaiger
FB: Thummanit Nikomrat

Thailand now has three elements inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. These include Khon Masked Dance Drama (2018), Nuad Thai (2019), and Nora, Dance Drama (2021). These recognitions demonstrate Thailand’s commitment to safeguarding its intangible cultural heritage and promoting its unique traditions on the global stage.

One of the other three performance types, Khon, is Thailand’s national performance art. It is an ancient, dramatic dance performance. Performers wear traditional Thai clothing and gold crowns. Khon combines musical, vocal, literary, dance, ritual and handicraft elements. This style of performance dates back to the Ayutthaya period from 1352-1765.

Nuad Thai is the renowned practice of traditional Thai massage. The massage helps rebalance patients’ bodies, energies, and structures to treat illnesses believed to be caused by the obstruction of energy flow. To open up blocked routes, Nuad Thai therapists perform a combination of manipulations using their hands, elbows, knees and feet, together with herbal hot compresses to reduce inflammation.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.