Monday, February 21, 2011

Good news

click to enlarge
At last, one of the most obvious events that have been painfully absent from the Phnom Penh calendar appears to be on the horizon. I've just got wind that from Friday 11 March, a regular weekly (Friday night) performance will take place at the Chaktomuk Theatre on the riverside. This will include at least three classical Cambodian dance performances and 4 folk dances. The 60 or so performers from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts' Department of Performing Arts will be strutting their stuff every week for tourists and locals to enjoy, from 7pm onwards and at a cost of $10 for foreigners and 10,000 riel for Khmers. The proclamation of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2003 gave it suitable recognition and whilst other countries have benefited from performances from time to time, a regular demonstration of Cambodia's quintessential cultural heritage has been sadly missing from the city's calendar. That looks like it's finally being addressed. At last. Amongst the dances scheduled for this new weekly performance are the classical white Apsara, Tep Monorom and Moni Mekhala dances, as well as folk dances from the Suoy and Kola ethnic groups, the praying mantis and good crop harvest dances. Meanwhile, the weekly Thursday night performances from the Children of Bassac dancers at the National Museum come to an end this week after their stab at entertaining the tourists here in Phnom Penh with their diet of dance, music and song. I believe it was very enthusiastically received, the quality of the performance was very high but was quite expensive to host and needed good attendances to make it a financial success. The same will apply for the new weekly shows at Chaktomuk too.

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