Dance in Cambodia

With no doubt, dancing is the main symbol of the theatre in Cambodia. Theatre, dance and thus is the most popular entertainment of Cambodian´s people. The highest degree of perfection reached Royal dance. In Royal dance performances dance only women.

Royal dancers come from all walks of life. They are carefully selected from the most beautiful girls in the country. They are (now figuratively only) donated to the king by their parents. Parents get paid for this. The reward depends on the beauty of young girls.

Cambodia national danceCambodia – National dance

Eight year old girls begin a tough day of practice. Girls have to do the same movement a many time, again and again, to achieve high joints and unnatural  flexibility. Dancers receive a monthly salary graded according to their importance.

Outside the royal court, in the country, young local dancers perform at various festivals and now especially for the many tourists coming to the country. These countryside girls are generally educated and sometimes trained by former royal dancers. They have the same repertoire as Royal dancers, but the criteria for quality dance versions are not as strict as it is for dancers who are active in the royal court.

Cambodia national dance - handsCambodia national dance – hands

In time when a dance performance takes place, women’s choir sing the contents of a scene that takes place on stage. Dancers indicate the rhythm of singing and dancing motion with beating on wooden bars. A small orchestra with local music instruments obviously help them during the performance.

Every emotion that dancer manifests corresponds with one movement. Dancers can occur their individuality girls only with the flexibility of the body, hands or fingers. Individual gestures are precise and must be not changed. Improvisation is not welcomed in the Cambodian national dances. Individual movements are transferred from generation to generation and are the result of a centuries of experience.

With each stroke, the stick dancer stops for a brief moment in a certain position, which came thanks to a wonderful harmonic motion.

Cambodia - Angkor Wat --- bas-reliefCambodia – Angkor Wat — bas-relief

The bas-relief in Angkor find all the major gestures and movements that showcase contemporary dancer. Already at the time of the Angkor dance and dancers enjoyed high esteem and favour. Traditional Cambodian dances are the only living memory of the ancient civilizations.

Finally, it has to be noted, that dance in Cambodia is of Indian origin.

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