Phnom Penh Dance Festival Promises to Feature Variety

As the expression goes: When it rains, it pours.

This weekend, this will apply to dance in all forms as performers present pieces ranging from Cam­bodian classical dance to hip-hop in events scheduled over three days.

The French Cultural Center is holding its first “Roam” dance festival of the year, starting with the A’CORPS company presenting “Fang Lao” at Chenla Theater Fri­day and Saturday at 7 pm.

Meaning “listen to it” in Lao, “Fang Lao” came out of French-Lao hip-hop dancer Ole Kham­chanla deciding to explore his roots after growing up in France.

Working with hip-hop and traditional dancers in Laos in 2006 and 2007 and in Bangkok in 2008, he created this work about what unites and separates people: Human beings who evolve into different cultures and are reunited by dance in the end, the artist ex­plained Thurs­day.

His piece is performed by five French, Lao and Thai dancers.

The program at Chenla Theater will include an excerpt from the piece “Garuda,” a contemporary work based on Cambodian dance tradition created by choreographer Hun Pen of the Ministry of Culture.

The festival will continue on Sunday night at 7 pm in the Koh Pich gardens, where 29 dancers of every dance style will present five-minute pieces on eight stages in the space of about one hour.

As they perform individually or in small groups, this will give the public the opportunity to sample all types of dance, said Olivier Pla­n­chon, deputy director of the French Cultural Center and the French Embassy’s cultural attache.

Unrelated to the festival, leading choreographer Sophiline Shapiro is inviting people on Saturday at 9:30 am to get behind the scenes of dance creation at her Khmer Arts Ensemble theater in Takhmao.

She is exploring with US dancer Amanda Miller the possibility of creating a Cambodian neoclassical work.

Her main concern is that any departure from classical form must reflect the spirituality of Cam­bodian dance, she said.

Admission to all events is free.


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