published :
9 Jan 2022 at 17:35

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

PHATTHALUNG: Thirty dance troupes specialising in ‘nora’, a traditional southern dance style recently given Unesco heritage status, have staged a rally demanding the lifting of a performance ban imposed to curb the Covid-19 surge.

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

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

Mr Naris said all the troupes were now deeply in debt as nobody could hire them to perform. The ban also hit other people relying on income from the shows, he said, such as event organisers and musicians.

The southern performance art was added to the Unesco list of intangible cultural heritage last month. The good news was dampened by the coronavirus outbreak as authorities placed restrictions on all entertainment activities, with ‘Nora’ included in the banned category in several southern provinces.

Dancers in Phatthalung were not alone in their suffering. On Tuesday, more than 30 dancers in neighbouring Trang petitioned the province to ease a ban on their shows. “Nora dancers in Trang need help,” read a banner displayed at the provincial hall.

In Phatthalung, governor Kukiat Wongkraphan said the provincial communicable disease committee would consider the demand to end the suspension in a meeting on Tuesday.

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