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Tanz Kongress 2022 | Mainz | Sharing potentials

Dance Offering

By and with: Gade aka Kornkarn Rungsawang
Performance Asian Connections through Bodily Expressions Artistic programme
Sat 18.6. | 14:30 to 15:30 | Gutenbergplatz – Staatstheater Mainz


Gutenbergplatz – Staatstheater Mainz
55116 Mainz
Route (Google Maps)

Dance Offering is a semi-ritual and ceremonial performance developed from a tradition rooted in Thai society. It is an art form created with the belief that dance is used as a tool for negotiation in which human beings make wishful requests from sacred objects or god(s), for example, to be successful. When wishes are granted, traditional dancers are hired to perform dance offerings to gods as an act of gratitude. However, thinking retrospectively, the root of this practice develops out of our fear and lack of something: the fear of starvation due to poverty, resulting in our desire for money and prosperity; the fear of failing in our responsibilities, resulting in our wish to be successful in our studies or employment; the fear of being harmed or left alone resulting in our desire for safety or a compatible soulmate. What is interesting about Dance Offering: is that among the various kinds of ritual dances rooted in Thai culture, it is one that can be looked at through a different lens - not purely as a worship performance but as an exchange tool. When Dance Offering is viewed as a negotiation method, human beings perceive themselves not as mere subjects who beg from the higher up but as a being with something to give in exchange, only when their wishes are granted. This tradition expands throughout Thailand, in shrines, temples, places that you can pray or anywhere that folklore and mythical stories are told. While the form of the dance offering is Traditional Thai Dance, it is not only a religious practice of praying and wishing upon sacred entities but it is also an artform. Simultaneously, this ritual coexists in the 3 periods of time - the past (it’s traditional form), the present (contemporary), and the future (the wishes that are granted).

How is Dance Offering such a success throughout Thailand, especially in the city of Bangkok, in which it continues every day? Rungsawang engages with each spectator’s interpretation of their own wishes or hopes through a formal process and very concrete dance movement. For Dance Offering at the Gutenbergplatz in front of the Staatstheater Mainz, Kornkarn dances a mutual offering where the individual wishes of her spectators are answered in a public area. She will be exploring the city and elements consisting of perception, space and time in an imaginary space where hopes, desires and beliefs can reside - an imaginary space of negotiation between the mundane and the divine. In her job as a medium of negotiation with sacred objects or god(s), she has a very difficult task with a lot of preparation required to make the worship and votive offering. She will put on makeup and get fully dressed to get ready for the dance offering.

Dance Offering will also be presented on Fri 17.6.


Choreography und Performance: Kornkarn Rungsawang