Chai" in the broad context means
"Transformation" while "Chui
Chai" in the traditional context
means "Getting Dressed" or
"Transformation from one identity
to another". However, the new approach
to interpreting "Chui Chai"
identifies the changing process within
the control of certain structure. In
this new approach the sudden transformation
takes place only in the appearance,
not with the spirit of a person; the
spirit of a person is unchangeable.
For example, in Chui Chai Benyakai,
Benyakai transforms herself into Sita,
but only in appearance; everything else
remains the same as the original Benyakai.
The distinguish features of Chui Chai
Chai is a dance piece that
shows the transformation of one character
into another. Chui Chai is one of the
master pieces of Thai classical dance
because the movements are motivated
by inner feelings and emotions.
the movements are driven by inner emotions,
they will communicate the needs more
fully through body language. Movements
thus motivated are not just dance poses
which are meaningless and that don’t
deliver anything to the audience.
is a very important process of dance
that distinguishes this dance piece
from other dance pieces, and is not
created simply for beauty’s sake.
It is a perfect example of a dance piece
because it includes drama in the performance.
display excellence in the Chui Chai
piece, a dancer must have expertise
in two areas
- expertise in controlling and developing emotion and interpreting the character being performe
interesting part of Chui Chai is the
language used for narrating the dance.
The language used reflects delicate
emotions. It is similar to poetry that
conceals strong thoughts and emotions
underneath normal sounding expressing.
The emotions are abstract, but can affect
the dancer in the performance of meaningful
movements. The raw emotions are easier
to emulate by movements. There are certain
body postures that are symbolic of emotions
such as anger, embarrassment, satisfaction,
The various forms of Chui Chai
There are variations of Chui Chai in the dance context, that is Chui Chai for different characters. Based on the idea of Chui Chai as ‘getting dressed,’ most of characters have their own Chui Chai piece, for example Chui Chai Todsakarn, Chui Chai Hanow, Chui Chai Wantong, etc. However, they all have the same composition, which includes:
- Plang Rua (fast song)
- Lyric starts with the word “Chui Chai”
- The Chui Chai song is followed by the Mae Sri Song
- Plang Raew ( another specific song)
- Farewell part
In general, the Chui Chai piece is dominated more by music than choreography, because in Thai culture music and literature are in charge of leading the choreography for dance pieces.
To conclude, the meaning of “Chui Chai” can be described in brief as
- Language that shows delicate
and abstract emotions
- A perfect dance piece which includes
perfect dancing and performance composition