Lamvong The Traditional Lao Dance
The national folk dance in Laos is the "Lamvong". Lao ethnics living in Thailand also dance the Lamvong, they call it "Ramwong" in Thai language. People in Cambodia also dance the Lamvong dance.
Most people believe the Lamvong dance originated from ancient Laos a very long time ago, although that can be controversial because the Cambodians also claim that their Khmer ancestors are the creators of the dance style.
The Lamvong is basically a circle dance in which people move continuously round in a large circle, gracefully moving arms, legs and bending fingers to the music, but never touching one another. You move your hands in opposite directions, one to the left and one to the right and also move your legs in time to the rhythm.
It's a really simple and slow dance and the movements are very easy, but if you are new to it then your Lao girlfriend or wife can show you how it's done, or you can see how people dance the Lamvong at a Lao performance or a wedding ceremony.
Lao people, young and old, also like to dance the Lamvong during the Lao New Year "Pi Mai Lao".
If you are having a Lao engagement or wedding ceremony, the bride and groom will be required to dance the Lamvong together then they will dance with guests. If a Lamvong is not performed then it's definitely not a traditional Lao engagement or wedding but a westernised ceremony.
Men and women don't have to wear the traditional Lao costume when they dance the Lamvong together at a general party, but women who attend a formal occasion such as a wedding have to wear the traditional "sinh mai" dress.
Lao girls often wear the traditional Lao dress in daily life in Laos, but it is not common for Lao guys to wear a traditional Lao outfit unless he is getting married.
When dancing the Lamvong, you can't just play any music for it. It's a slow traditional dance so a traditional classical Lao music must accompany the dance. The sound of the Khaen (traditional Lao musical instrument) which is usually described as a mouth organ made from hollow cane is also suitable for the Lamvong dance.
We hope you enjoy the read about the Lamvong dance. The Lamvong is really enjoyable to dance and handy to learn because if you plan to marry a traditional Lao woman in the future, or you want to get involved within the Lao community then it's something that you will need to know how to do.