Open-Air Dance Event on Koh Pich to Feature Eclectic Music

“The Street Dances,” an outdoor event being held on Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich island on Saturday night, will see dancers perform on eight stages to an eclectic selection of music, ranging from film scores and romantic songs to electro.

The dance event, which is being put on by the Institut Francais, will feature 20 of the country’s most talented dancers including Khon Chan Sithyka and Khon Chansina who performed in “Khmeropedies III, Source/Primate” in New York last year.

Phon Chan Pisey rehearses Wednesday for Saturday's performance of "The Street Dances," at the Institut Francais in Phnom Penh. (Siv Channa)
Phon Chan Pisey rehearses Wednesday for Saturday’s performance of “The Street Dances,” at the Institut Francais in Phnom Penh. (Siv Channa)

The show will start at 7 p.m. and take place on eight stages simultaneously, which means that, at any given time over nearly two hours, eight dancers will be performing solos. Each dance is about 4 minutes long.

“In previous years, we had left it to the artists to choose the music for their creations,” said Kor Borin, who is in charge of cultural events at the Institut. “But this year, it’s the institute that picked the music, famous French pieces.

“Around 60 were selected, ranging from classical to…rock, cha-cha-cha, hip hop, [and] waltzes: a very broad range. Each artist was then invited to select a piece of music and to choreograph his dance for the event,” Mr. Borin said.

Chen Borey picked an excerpt from Maurice Ravel’s “Rapsodie espagnole” and created a Western-style classical dance, while Chhourn Outdom selected the French electro piece “Pirates” by Zenzile and borrowed from both Eastern and Western contemporary traditions for his dance.

Nimul Chorvorn chose a piece from the album “Cannibale” by electronic music composer Dominique Dalcan and, using a jacket as a prop, created a mini-story around it.

For artists used to dancing in theaters, performing outdoors for an audience that may come and go is no easy matter.

“The first time three years ago, I was really worried,” said Chy Ratana, referring to his first experience dancing in the open air. “But when I started dancing, I thought ‘Oh, it’s cool.’ And people liked it.”

Chumvan Sodhachivy, also known as Belle, agreed. “It’s comfortable for them to come and watch: It’s easy and simple,” she said. While some people may be intimidated to go to big theaters in Phnom Penh, they will not hesitate to attend this free outdoor show, she said.

If people want to see all the 20 dancers perform, Mr. Borin recommends that they arrive early, pick a stage—there will be mats to sit on—and remain there during the whole event. Since the artists will appear on each of the eight stages but not in a set order, people will miss some performances if they go from stage to stage, he said.

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