Contemporary Dancers Bringing History to the Stage

Three dance companies are joining together to present their interpretations of recent Cambodian history at the Jolana Jongjam festival in Phnom Penh this weekend.

“The three contemporary dances address the issue of the past, memory and historical events that Cambodia went through,” said Prim Phloeun, executive director of Cambodian Living Arts (CLA), which is organizing the event. 

The festival began Friday with “The Things They Carried,” by Phnom Penh’s PanDance Project company, and “Come Back Brighter,” by Epic Arts of Kampot City.

On Saturday, the New Cambodian Artists company of Siem Reap City performs “Sronoh” (Lament).

Part of the yearlong Acts of Memory program arranged by CLA and the Bophana Center, the festival marks the 40th anniversary of the Khmer Rouge coming to power in April 1975 and ends Sunday when all three dances are performed again.

The festival, held at 7 p.m. at the CLA theater at the National Museum, will include discussions on Saturday.

“We especially want to involve young Cambodians to discuss their perception of the dances themselves and the historical context they’re trying to present,” Mr. Phloeun explained.

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