This morning I was up and out early doors and off to Takhmau by moto. It was the open rehearsal by the Khmer Arts Ensemble at their grandiose headquarters, of the piece of classical dance that they will perform at Chenla Theatre next Friday as part of the Lakhaon Festival being run by the French Cultural Center. They won't perform the whole work, Ream Eyso & Moni Mekhala, as its two hours long, but instead an abridged version of just under an hour will be staged by the Ensemble's dance troupe and musicians. I attended a closed rehearsal a few months ago and posted quite a few pictures as well as text about the Khmer Arts team so this time around I'll talk about the piece of work itself. Essentially a sacred dance asking the dieties for rain to water the land, its at the very core of traditional Khmer dance and tells the story of Moni Mekhala, the goddess of the seas and her struggles against Ream Eyso, a demon who is determined to steal her magic jeweled ball. The demonstration-cum-rehearsal today was performed by 18 of the touring company's troupe and 8 musicians and singers. Explanations of what was taking place to the assembled 30 or so dance fans who'd made the trip from the city, were provided by the founder of Khmer Arts, Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, who has been teaching this story to her troupe for the last two years, but adding her own special touches to the work, including colourful hand fans which represent clouds and which add a definite splash of colour, movement and vitality to the piece. There was a brief question and answer session with the dancers, who introduced themselves individually, and musicians afterwards before the rehearsal ended and we can now look forward to Friday's performance at Chenla. Photos of today's rehearsal will follow later as I'm just out the door to watch football at Olympic Stadium.
Labels: Khmer Arts Ensemble