Staying on the arts front, two princes from Cambodia's royal family have publicly called for control of the nation's Royal Ballet to be handed back to the Royal Palace, from whence it was moved to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts in 1970. They suggest it will improve the quality and attendances, and maybe give all those royal advisors something to do as well. Why oh why the Royal Ballet aren't performing regularly at the Chaktomuk Theatre or elsewhere is beyond me. There is definitely mileage in putting on regular, scheduled shows for tourists and Cambodians alike, that can be a platform for their back catalogue of works, generate income and sharpen skills of performers, not to mention providing employment and opportunities to the students leaving the Fine Arts campus every year. It's a no-brainer for me and has for a long while left me scratching my head.
Finally, Manhattan socialite, philanthropist and arts patron, Anne Bass, debuted her film Dancing Across Borders in Siem Reap at the weekend. Back in March 2007 I highlighted the documentary in progress on a rising star in the world of ballet, Sar 'Sy' Sokvannara (pictured), a gifted Cambodian dancer who'd trained at the School of American Ballet and was with the Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle. The full-length film is now complete and waiting to be unleashed upon the public. It chronicles Sokvannara’s journey as a dancer as he uses the skills he learned from traditional, ritualistic Cambodian dances with the Wat Bo school in Siem Reap to the ballet stage in America.