Sunday, December 14, 2008

Savin in all her glory

Sam Savin in all her regal glory
These photos were taken after the classical dance performance of Vong Sovann Chann Savat had ended to loud applause at the Chaktomuk Theatre on Saturday evening. UNESCO, who proclaimed the Royal Ballet of Cambodia as a masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity in 2003, were instrumental in reviving this classical dance drama. My photos don't do the work or the performers justice as I've come to realize that my Sony cyber-shot digital camera simply isn't good enough for theatre pictures indoors, so apologies for the quality. Nevertheless, it was great to see my friend Sam Savin performing the lead role of princess Tep Sokun - she's been dancing since she was twelve, she's now 29 and has performed abroad many times in major performances and tours such as Dance: The Spirit of Cambodia, Seasons of Migration, she starred as Pamina Devi in the dance of the same name and countless other productions. When she's not dancing, which is rare, she teaches dance at the Royal University of Fine Arts. Chaktomuk was full to bursting for the performance with invited guests and just a handful of barangs on view - I had intended to gripe here about the lack of publicity for the event but if its a full-house then their view is that PR isn't necessary. However, one-off performances like this don't allow a wider audience to view this important artistic display of Cambodia's culture and whilst I'm not advocating a run of shows such as Where Elephants Weep enjoyed, at least two or three performances would give others a chance to experience the grace and beauty of the show. A bonus point was the colour programme, which gave an easy-to-follow summary of the drama, which enhanced my understanding and enjoyment of the work, and other details in both English and Khmer.
The cast take their bow at the end of the performance
The principal dancers await their bouquet of flowers from the dignitaries
Sam Savin is all smiles as she receives her bouquet
Savin and Sam Limsothea as Prince Vong Sovann, pose after the final whistle
The young lady with the magic bow is Prasith Vichheka
Keo Phirum played the part of Prince Chann Savat, brother of Vong Sovann
Savin is all smiles after the performance
Savin with her sister and members of her family
Sam Savin - one of Cambodia's leading Royal Ballet performers

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