Cambodian Classical Dance Workshop

In conjunction with The Continuum: Beyond The Killing Fields by TheatreWorks (Singapore) at the Arts Centre, this workshop introduces participants to the socio-historical context and gestural vocabulary of Cambodian Classical Dance.

Bookings Now Open
If you book before 5pm Wednesday September 15, the Arts Centre will arrange a single free ticket in your name to be held at the Box Office for either Thursday 16 or Friday 17.

The four Cambodian artists, Em Theay, Thong Kim Ann, Kim Bun Thom and Mann Kosal will describe and demonstrate the movement of three main role-types: the Giant role, Male role and Monkey role. The Giant role is a masked dance by women; the Male role is also performed by women but with no mask; while the Monkey role is performed by men. Like in Cambodia, participants can choose their preferred role-type and undergo movement training with one of the Cambodian artists or Master Teacher.

Participants will also observe a demonstration by the eminent Em Theay, one of the few surviving artists from the Khmer Rouge regime, who will perform an excerpt from Mekhalaa story of warring deities from Khmer mythology.
Last, the workshop will contextualise the ecology of Cambodian dance today, which can be said to be undergoing a cultural renaissance and reception by audiences worldwide of its cultural heritage since Angkor.

The workshop structure will be as follows:

- Introduction to Cambodian Classical Dance (5min)

- Scene demonstration from the Mekhala (5min)

- Description and demonstration of the Male, Monkey and Giant roles (15min)

-Training session (50min)

- Q & A (15min)

This workshop is suitable for all interested in a practical introduction to Cambodian Classical Dance. Conducted in Khmer with English translation.  Please dress comfortably for movement work.

Em Theay

Em Theay (pictured)
Em Theay's love for dance started at the age of seven when she became a classical dance trainee.
At fifteen, she became the principle classical dancer of Songkom Reas Niyom, where she was based for the next twenty years.

In 1970, with the change in the political situation, she became the classical dancer for the Kampuchean Republic although that was short-lived when civil war broke out in 1975.

In 1979, Em Theay returned to dance and was appointed Master of Performing Arts with the Ministry of Culture.
Her years as a dancer and singer have allowed her to travel extensively in Asia, Europe and the United States.

Em Theay is ceaseless in her endeavor to develop her craft and continues to impart her art to the new generations.

Kim Bun Thom
Kim Bun Thom specializes in classical and traditional dance, musical theatre and chanting. She began her dance training at the Royal Palace at the age of six and upon graduation in 1970; she became a classical dancer for the Royal Palace of Cambodia. Kim's career came to a standstill for four years when civil war tore Cambodia apart. It was only in 1979 that she resumed her career at the Ministry of Culture's Performing Arts Department. Currently, Kim Bunthom is a trainer in the development of a new type of classical dance.

Thong Kim Ann

Thong Kim Ann began her classical dance training after completing her secondary school education in 1962. Her training involved both classical and traditional dance and she specialized primarily in the male and giant roles. However, this was abruptly disrupted with the outbreak of civil war in the country. In 1979, she returned to her roots of dance as a classical performer with the Ministry of Culture. Currently, Kim Ann is involved in the creation of a new dance movement.

Mann Kosal
Mann Kosal is a native of Takeo province, Cambodia. Born in 1961, Kosal began his artistic studies in 1984 as a student of Bassac Theater at Phnom Penh's Royal University of Fine Arts. From 1991-1997, Kosal concentrated on Shadow Puppet Theater in the Department of performing arts of the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. His enthusiasm for shadow puppets has led Kosal in the revival and preservation of traditional repertory, and authentic Khmer production and technical performance that was nearly lost in the Khmer Rouge regime. Since 2000, Kosal is the Artistic Director of Sovanna Phum, an independent arts company focusing on the Sbaek Thom (Large Shadow Puppet)

Cambodian Classical Dance Workshop
Date: Saturday 18 September 2010
Time: 11:00am-12:30pm
Where: Sylvia Staehli Theatre at Dancehouse
Cost: $15 / $10

To Book Please click here some places will be available at the door from 10.45am

If you book before 5pm Wednesday September 15, the Arts Centre will arrange a single free ticket in your name to be held at the Box Office for either Thursday 16 or Friday 17.

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