Thursday, November 4, 2010

A joy to watch

The two stars of the comedic Chhayam dance, a popular folk dance
Vibrant, energetic, with boundless vitality, the Children of Bassac were a joy to watch this evening at the National Museum for the first of their weekly performances during the tourist high season. Sponsored by Cambodian Living Arts, the US Embassy and the Ministry of Culture, the combination of classical and folk dances will grace the stage at the front of the museum every Thursday night at 7pm for an hour for the next five months. A regular show of this nature has long been missing from the events listings in the capital and now its up to locals, expats and tourists alike to throw their full weight behind this endeavour. The company of dancers ranging in age from 16 to 21 have performed abroad and it showed. The seven sections of the show were performed with expertise and craftmanship, these youngsters have trained long and hard to polish their display and it paid off with a seamless performance for the packed audience. My photos don't do it justice as my camera was playing up and only decided to work towards the end of the show. That means there's no pictures from the first part of the evening, when Anders Jiras' exhibition of photographs of the Royal Ballet was officially opened with a few long speeches and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The exhibition is in a wing of the museum and coincides with the 7th anniversary of the Royal Ballet getting its World Intangible Cultural Heritage badge. Anders is the best performance photographer in the city by a country mile and his photos deserve this solo exhibition in my view. It will remain on view until the end of January 2011.
The Children of Bassac performing the kroma, or scarf dance
Planting rice in the fields during the kroma dance
The improv of the Chhayam dance was well received by the audience
The Chhayam dance is usually performed at Bon Kathen, a collection for a pagoda
Classical dancers opened the show and returned for the closing ceremony
The Children of Bassac company take their bow
4 females of the 24-strong dance team in their kroma outfits
Big eye-lashes and make-up enhance the look on stage for the girls
On stage with the dancers were the US Ambassador, Secretary of State and the UNESCO rep
Taking a final bow at the end of tonight's performance

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