Em Theay - I hope she will go on forever
Continuing the dance theme, I was fortunate to meet up with the adorable Em Theay
for more than an hour this morning, in what I can only describe as a private audience with the icon of traditional Cambodian classical dance. Accompanied by Hannah from England and her tour guide, Eak, we sat in a small pavilion on the banks of the Tonle Sap in the grounds of Chaktomuk Theatre as Em Theay regaled us with tales of her childhood in the royal palace, the thwacks of her teacher's cane when she did something wrong and the long hours spent practicing the love of her life, classical dance. Despite her advancing years, she can't help herself and had to show us some of her poses, that she performed as a dancer and taught as a teacher, sang a few songs and explained why dance is so important to her. She spoke with great affection for King Sihanouk and recalled the desperately sad years of the Khmer Rouge, where she survived only because the local commander liked her dancing and singing. Now 80 years old, she is determined to reach 100 and to carry on helping others appreciate the art of dance that has brought her so much happiness throughout her own life. It is always a real privilege to spend time with Em Theay and as a memento I gave her a copy of my book, which contains a story I wrote about her. Unfortunately my camera is still playing silly buggers and ruined the picture of us together, but here are a few snaps I did manage to salvage.
Em Theay shows us a few monkey moves LtoR: Eak, Em Theay and Hannah Postures and hand movements are such an important part of classical dance On her feet, she cannot stop herself from dancing and singing
Labels: Em Theay