Traditional Southern dance recognized by Unesco

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Orm Songthaen, head of the Ormjit ‘nora’ dance troupe, speaks at a rally calling for the lifting of a performance ban at the provincial hall of Phatthalung on Friday.

PHATTHALUNG: Thirty dance troupes specializing in ‘nora’, a traditional southern dance style recently listed as a Unesco heritage site, staged a rally demanding the lifting of a performance ban imposed to curb the wave of Covid- 19.

Orm Songthaen, leader of the Ormjit group, and Naris Petchamanee of the Dao Rung Tha Khae group led a rally on Friday at the provincial hall of this southern province. They called on the province to lift the ban that requires them to stay at home, instead of performing on stage.

Phatthalung is now enforcing strict measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including the suspension of nora performances, amid concerns over large gatherings. It was not immediately clear when the measures were first imposed.

Mr Naris said all the troops are now in deep debt as no one can hire them to perform. The ban also hit other people dependent on income from shows, he said, such as event planners and musicians.

Performing art from the South was added to Unesco’s list of intangible cultural heritage last month. The good news was dampened by the coronavirus outbreak as authorities imposed restrictions on all entertainment activities, with “Nora” included in the banned category in several southern provinces.

The dancers of Phatthalung were not alone in suffering. On Tuesday, more than 30 dancers from nearby Trang town called on the province to relax the ban on their performances. “Nora’s dancers in Trang need help,” read a banner posted at the provincial hall.

In Phatthalung, Governor Kukiat Wongkraphan said the provincial communicable disease committee will consider the request to end the suspension at a meeting on Tuesday.


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