Jump to content
Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu

How Muay Thai is Like Dance - Theory and Practice

Recommended Posts

Creating a topic area for discussion, let's investigate the potential dialogue for both arts.

As a starting point here is my interview with Thais who is a teacher of dance, and a Muay Thai enthusiast who was visiting Petchrungruang. I did this interview Muay Thai Bones style, which is basically a running conversation of riffing off of ideas. In comments maybe we can expand on the way each art and practice can shed a light on one another:

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Face

I was not able to reach this in the discussion above, and I am not particularly knowledgeable in Dance, but there is something in Dance which has always struck me. Face. Even in popular forms of dance, the best dancers dance with their face. What do I mean by that? It's the facial expression that carries the dance, no matter the style, and more than anything it is usually the absence of exertion in the face that makes the dance float, creating an affect space above and beyond the technical zones of performance. It's the grueling work of practice that is ef-faced, through the way the face carries the dance, freeing it from the earth, in a sense. This is precisely the case in Thai aesthetics of Muay Thai. You learn in the Thai gym to control your facial expressions, often to adopt a placidity, or a flatness, sometimes a joy or freedom, sometimes a boredom even (Muay Femeu), something trained in the very exertion of the thousands of hours. In the west we learn to show, sometimes even theatricize our fatigue, or our pain, over exaggerating and evidencing our commitment, our sacrifice, our loss of control. For the Thais (until recently, with the meme-like spread of Buakaw-face, or Anime-face, in some promotions), the face is one of the most profound channels of performance, the techniques of the face. I'm thinking of Weerapol's fight nickname "Deathmask" or Samart's "Jade Faced Tiger", two of the greatest. There is some sort of very basic continuity of performance in the role of facial performance in Dance and traditional Thai Muay Thai. 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...