Thai Cultural & Martial Arts Performance | Photo Essay

Thai Cultural Performance in Chiang Mai

Thai Cultural & Martial Arts Performance in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thai Cultural & Martial Arts Performance in Chiang Mai, Thailand

As a backpacker I live for spontaneous moments. I get more of an adrenaline rush walking around a corner and finding a group of ladies dancing on the street than I do paying for a staged event.  When I was visiting Chiang Mai, Thailand back in 2011, I was treated to one of these magical moments once again.

I remember vividly wandering around the city earlier in the afternoon taking photos various temples, markets and street scenes.  Feeling completely knackered and destined for a quiet night in my guest house, I quickly felt energized upon hearing commotion coming from a distance.  As I approached nearer it became clear some kind of special Thai cultural performance was about to take place.

A group of Thai high school aged teenagers delighted an ever expanding audience to a series of cultural, martial arts and contemporary dance events.  The level of practice, dedication and skill to pull off some of the manoeuvres was seriously impressive.

The martial arts performance was by far the most impressive and included a host of tactics one ought not to try at home 😛

The following is a photo essay capturing some of the magic moments I experienced:

Photo Essay: Thai Cultural & Martial Arts Performance

 

A Thai teenager blissfully dances around the stage while smiling.

A Thai teenager blissfully dances around the stage with a smiling face.

A group of Thai teenagers play traditional Thai instruments on the stage.

A group of Thai teenagers play traditional Thai instruments on the stage.

A photo capturing a Thai boy doing some impressive martial art display.

A photo capturing a Thai boy doing some impressive martial art display.

A close-up shot of a Thai boy performing martial arts stunts with a dagger in between his toes.

A close-up shot of a Thai boy performing martial arts stunts with a dagger in between his toes.

Two Thai girls dressed in traditional attire dance flawlessly with grace.

Two Thai girls dressed in traditional attire dance flawlessly with grace.

A group of teenage Thai boys decked out in matching black outfits perform a rap routine.

A group of teenage Thai boys decked out in matching black outfits perform a rap routine.

A Thai boy wielding small swords in his hands has an intense look in his eyes.

A Thai boy wielding small swords in his hands has an intense look in his eyes.

If I could do a quarter of what this Thai boy is doing with several swords I'd be beyond impressed.

If I could do a quarter of what this Thai boy is doing with several swords I’d be beyond impressed.

A close up shot of some Thai performers and the traditional instruments they are using.

A close up shot of some Thai performers and the traditional instruments they are using.

A photo that captures the motion blur of a Thai boy holding a sword in his mouth.

A photo that captures the motion blur of a Thai boy holding a sword in his mouth.

A Thai girl decked out in an elaborate costume dances effortlessly.

A Thai girl decked out in an elaborate costume dances effortlessly.

A close-up shot of one of the Thai teenage boys performing a hip hop sequence.

A close-up shot of one of the Thai teenage boys performing a hip hop sequence.

A thai teenager pulls the sword out from behind his back.

A thai teenager pulls the sword out from behind his back.

A Thai boy clamps down with his mouth on several daggers while somehow holding another knife in between his toes.

A Thai boy clamps down with his mouth on several daggers while somehow holding another knife in between his toes.

Upon finishing his routine the boy with the sword in his mouth bows down.

Upon finishing his routine the boy with the sword in his mouth bows down.

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  10. great and really attractive, i am from pakistan and today i feel that i need to see these culture festival live, really appreciated, specially the kid who are performing with sole (knife)

  11. says: Gisele

    What a great photos you have here! This is definitely intense and I think a lot of people would be so interested to give this a try.. For me, this is very challenging!

  12. says: Maria

    Between the toes? Between the lips? Intense! And then there’s the shades and the musicians… wowed by their looks of concentration and finesse. Great shots Sam!

  13. says: Laura

    Amazing photography, great composition of some wonderful shots. Love the first one with the kid and the swords, but all of them are exceptionally great.

  14. says: LozinTransit

    The best moments in life (as in travel) are those spontaneous moments where you feel a sense of pride and gratitude that you were at the right place at the right time. Those stolen moments. I’ve often wondered – given the chance – would I want to capture lightning in a bottle? I think the fact its elusive, that you can’t just pay you’re way into those experiences and that you ultimately have to apply yourself to find them is what makes them so fun.

    I always wonder how regularly these large scale street performers do their act though. Its not exactly a flashmob.

  15. I am impressed by the look of intense concentration on the boy’s face. And with the ‘cool shades’ dance for contrast I cannot help but notice the sense of purpose that the boy has.