Mae Tha Ling is the set of exercise and practice for the dancers who perform the monkey role. The monkeys are among the characters in the Khon performance.Mae Tha Ling comprises a set of poses, steps and movements starting from the Basic Pose Number 1 to 7.
Mae Tha Ling’s importance lies in the fact that it contains the rudimentary poses, steps and movements that have been choreographed and definitively set by the past dance masters for the monkey-role dancers. The poses, steps and movements for the monkey role are methodically organized in a sequence in Mae Tha Ling. Mae Tha Ling is therefore used as the rudiments in other dance movements, some of which has no name, of the monkey character. Some of these poses and movements are unnamed, but the dancers must remember and be able to perform them; while some movements are called Basic Pose Number 1, 2, 3, and so on to 7.
It is prescribed that Mae Tha Ling is practiced in two stages - the First Half and the Second Half. The First Half comprises 90 poses, steps and movements, while the Second Half focuses on the monkeys’ natural gestures and movements such as “Catching a Fly”, “Catching a Flea”, “Play with Insects”, “Playing with Fleas”, for example.
Mae Tha Ling reflects the genius of the past masters of Khon dance who choreographed the monkeys’ movements and gestures into these aesthetically beautiful poses, steps and movements. It is a unique and beautiful cultural legacy that deserved to be declared Thailand’s cultural heritage.