The royal command khon masked dance performance has become an annual event to look forward to now, with the third in the series having premiered last week.
This is a performance that all Thais can be proud of. Khon performances used to be a regular offering in the days when the Fine Arts Department put on their repertoire at the National Theatre decades ago. The lead dancers, particularly the male leads, would have their mae yok or "fan clubs" watching in rapture, ready by the stage door afterwards to present garlands of flowers to their idols. Often these fans would be little old ladies (like me) who couldn't help but be fascinated by the poise, the dance skills, the perfectly arched arm positions, not to mention the good looks, of these artists.
The image of the "fan club" has changed slightly over the years, with the introduction of the Academy Fantasia virtual reality programme and the young groupies with their portable light signs bearing the names of their favourite contestant, and their cameras fitted with telephoto lenses that the Wimbledon photo pit would be proud of.
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