Ram Phleng Cha-Ram Phleng Reo
Ram Phleng Cha-Ram Phleng Reo (slow tune dance-quick tune dance) are two sets of basic practices in Thai classical or academic dance poses, steps and movements that have been developed, refined and standardized to serve as the academic model to be used in various genres of dance performances such as Khon (mask dance drama), Lakhon (dance drama) and Rabam (non-narrative dance). Their methodical approach resonates with the approach to the other kinds of training in the royal court, which seems to suggest that the practices originated from the dance training in the royal court.
Ram Phleng Cha and Ram Phleng Reo are designed for the dancers of the hero and heroine roles to practice their art and are accompanied by the instrumental music from a Pi Phat ensemble. In the first stage of training, the students will sing out the rhythm patterns of the music -- “Cha Chong Cha Thing Chong Thing” when practicing the Ram Phleng Cha and “Tup Thing Thing” for the Ram Phleng Reo. As the students have acquired a good skill at these, they will continue their practice to the music from the Pi Phat ensemble -- using the Soi Son tune to practice Ram Phleng Cha and Phleng Reo tune to practice Ram Phleng Reo, before ending with Phleng La.
The steps, poses and movements in both Ram Phleng Cha and Ram Phleng Reo are methodically arranged in logical sequence from the first pose to the last one. Each pose flows into the next smoothly. The practices are imbued with Thai custom and tradition. For example, they begin with the Wai (salutation) to pay homage to the teachers and the benefactors. Starting from the simple poses, movements and steps, the practices gradually build up to more complex and difficult ones.
The poses, steps and movements in Ram Phleng Cha and Ram Phleng Reo are all Mae Tha - the rudimentary or basic poses for various genres of Thai dance performances - whether for non-narrative dances or dance dramas. Every dancer who plays any role unavoidably has to perform the dance steps, poses and movements in Ram Phleng Cha and Ram Phleng Reo. Therefore, a good dancer has to regularly practice Ram Phleng Cha and Ram Phleng Reo, which are considered the key elements of Thai dances.