Sunday, May 3, 2009

Today is Em Theay Day

Em Theay - a zest for life undiminished by time and fate
Em Theay and her daughter look through their family photographs - now lost in the fire that destroyed their home and possessions
Today is dedicated to the iconic Cambodian classical dancer and teacher Em Theay. At 4pm this afternoon a fundraising benefit screening of The Tenth Dancer will take place at the Bophana Center on St 200 in Phnom Penh in honour of Em Theay. In March, Theay and her daughter lost everything in a house fire. As she explained to The Cambodia Daily yesterday. "One of the most important things I've lost in the fire, and that still pains me, are my documents on dance, which cannot be replaced. I spent all my life collecting them and keeping them with great care only to have them destroyed in the fire." The Tenth Dancer is a film made in 1993 about Em Theay and her dedication to reviving the classical artform. I remember being captivated by it when I watched it many years ago. But I think it means even more to me today, having met Em Theay in person and having succumbed to her spirited personality and natural grace and zest for life and dance. The recent fire at her daughter's home that destroyed everything, including her precious memories, was a cruel twist for a family who have already endured more than most. Read more about Em Theay here and here.
The author and Em Theay - a precious moment for me, March 2008
Em Theay - always immaculate, getting ready for an interview on film
Em Theay photographed at a recent book party at Monument Books
Em Theay with author Denise Heywood in a recent photo
Em Theay adjusts the headdress of her pupil Sok Chea in a scene from The Tenth Dancer

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