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Not child abuse but Thai culture! – where students suffer agonies for the sake of classical dance

A teacher and his 13 year old student have become internet celebrities after a million people watched a video of training for Thai classical dance.

The video – in two parts – was posted by a teacher called “Bom”, 29, who was training secondary students in the art of dancing for the Khon performance at an Ang Thong school, reported Thai Rath.

In the clips the boy called Sermsin or “Nong Arm” 13, who is in M2 or year nine, is going through the agonies of doing the splits.

But this is not child abuse that we often read about happening in Thai schools. It is a necessary part of training.

All male Khon dancers have to do this whether they are playing monkey or demon characters.

Khon is considered the highest of the Thai dance arts. A classical Khon performance usually depicts scenes from the Ramakien (the Thai version of the Ramayana epic from India). The movements are stylized and prescribed.

Apart from having to learn how to do the splits many dancers are forced to have their hands pushed back to meet their lower forearms.

Thais online commented in their thousands giving support and encouragement to the boy and the teacher.

The boy was praised for going through such pain for the sake of Thai culture while the teacher was praised for keeping such Thai traditions alive.

In his post on Facebook the teacher called on his students to put up with the pain for the benefit of improving themselves and becoming dancers while Thai Rath said that the clip displayed the “loveable innocence of youth”.

Thai VisaThai Rath

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