Padmini Dorairajan, a specialist in the Bharatnatyam dance tradition of southern India, will perform tonight at 6:30 at the French Cultural Center.
Sponsored by the Indian Embassy, the show will feature works illustrating elements of Hindu mythology well-known in Cambodia, including tales of Ganesha, Shiva and Krishna.
Padmini Dorairajan is visiting Cambodia as part of an ongoing cultural exchange between the two countries.
On Sunday night, she performed at the Chaktomuk Theater with a troupe of Cambodian classical dancers from the Ministry of Culture.
“The Ramayana and Indian mythologies also inform our tradition,” Cambodian dancer Sam Sathya said at a news conference announcing the schedule Saturday, adding that she looked forward to the cultural exchange. “The cultures are very similar.”
Both countries have traditionally regarded dance as perhaps the purest form of worship, with early practitioners living and performing in temples. The discipline has become secularized in both countries, and is growing in popularity among average citizens, the dancers said.
Padmini Dorairajan said she began her training at age 6, practicing at least three hours daily before her first public performance at 12.
“You have to have stamina,” she said, smiling. “It is a very vigorous type of dance. We practice nearly every day.”
Mao Keng, director of the Department of Performing Arts at the Ministry of Culture, said Cambodian dancers must also begin training at a young age.
“We have a very clear language of gesture,” which takes years to perfect, he said. “Every morning we must stretch our fingers and our bodies.”
As part of the cultural exchange, Padmini Dorairajan and Indian musicians plan a workshop today with dance students at the Royal University of Fine Arts.