If the “trot” dance has its desired effect, the Ministry of Finance will have good luck collecting revenue for the government in the coming new year.
On Monday, 30 dancers performed the traditional Khmer New Year blessing dance at the ministry, earning more than $250 for their efforts. The dancers, most of them students at the Royal University of Fine Arts, dressed and acted as wild buffalo, oxen and pheasants.
One dancer performed as a wild deer, representing evil and bad luck. Another dressed as a hunter with a bow and arrow, chased the deer and killed it.
The dance is similar to the lion dance performed during Chinese New Year celebrations; it “wipes out the bad past and brings in good fortune,” said Proeung Chhieng, dean of the Faculty of Choreographic Arts at the Royal University of Fine Arts. “Trot” translates as the end of a bad past, he said. “Even Chinese business people [in Cambodia] believe this dance could bring them good business in the next year.”
Other government agencies and Phnom Penh residents can increase their chances of good luck if they pay dancers to perform, said Chan Sarin, administrative director of the National Action Culture Association.
The NACA has sent about 30 letters to Phnom Penh businesses, residents and government agencies asking them to request and organize the blessing dance at their offices or homes. A fee for the performance is expected, but the amount is usually not specified beforehand, Chan Sarin. said.
“Some families give [$12]. Or some big-hearted people…contribute $300,” he said.
Last year, the dancers performed at 30 homes or offices. So far this year, there have been 10 requests for the dance, Chan Sarin said.
Khmer New Year is from April 13 to April 16.