Old Form Express Modern Issues Through Dance

In a departure from the themes that have long defined Khmer classical dances—love, hate and jealousy—proteges of renowned choreographer Sophiline Cheam Shapiro are steering the form to focus on more grounded issues in their latest works.

Rin Sreyleak, for instance, created a dance about the legacy of landmines left during Cambodia’s decades of war, which will be one of the performances by the Sophiline Arts Ensemble tonight and on Saturday at their Khmer Arts Theater in Kandal province’s Takhmao district.

From left: Lim Chanboramy, Keo Kuntearom, Mot Pharan, Long Chantheary and Pum Molyta.
From left: Lim Chanboramy, Keo Kuntearom, Mot Pharan, Long Chantheary and Pum Molyta.

“Children of the next generations have suffered because of those explosive weapons, becoming disabled or losing their lives,” Ms. Sreyleak said.

Performed through classical movements, the dance will be an appeal to political leaders to remember that ordinary people are the ones getting hurt in conflicts.

“Subject matters are evolving closer and closer to our lives,” Ms. Cheam Shapiro said.

The program entitled “Roots and Shoots” also features a music composition for Khmer traditional instruments that Ms. Cheam Shapiro’s musicians have written about their daily ferry ride between Phnom Penh and Takhmao district.

Performances start at 7 p.m.

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