Saigoneer

Back Arts & Culture » Culture » [Video] Revitalizing Traditional Khmer Arts With Cambodia's First Queer Dance Company

When the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia, their assault on the elite included murdering 90% of the country's traditional dancers. Therefore, it's astounding that only 40 years later, a group of native queer artists are performing the elaborate routines.

With origins in 9th-century Ankor, the complex and physically rigorous routines, which share many similarities with western ballet, often tell mythical stories of kings and gods, demons and phantasms. At times, they functioned as prayers to the gods for rain and prosperous harvests. 

Recently people inside and outside Cambodia have been making efforts to preserve and revitalize the art form, including Long Beach California native Prumsodun Ok who recently moved to Phnom Penh and helped found the first gay dance group committed to the ancient art. 

Watch the below Atlas Obscura video on what the Mekong Review describes as "a dance that conjured the flow of rivers and the tight precision of a plant's minuscule growth. It was both intimate and transcendental." Learn more about the groundbreaking group via Prumsodun's Ted Talk.  

Video via Atlas Obscura.


Related Articles:

Urban Art Flourishes in Cambodia Despite Challenges

The Battle Is on to Save Cambodia's 'New Khmer Architecture' Legacy

Inside THE BOAT: Phnom Penh’s Floating Art Space 


Related Articles

in Culture

10 Incredible Photos Of Life On Hanoi's Train Tracks

Traffic in Vietnam is crazy but the train tracks that skirt through Hanoi’s residential areas reach levels of insanity.

in Culture

10 Photos Of The Amazing Vietnamese Spider-Men

While some Vietnamese cities have begun to move their tangled nests of electricity wires underground, they are still a ubiquitous feature of many urban neighborhoods.

in Culture

12 Of Saigon’s Best Parks And Open Spaces – Part 1

Though Saigon has lost quite a bit of its verdant luster over the years, there are still patches of green throughout the city that are worth checking out. Vietnam Coracle has made a handy guide to som...

in Culture

12 Of Saigon’s Best Parks And Open Spaces – Part 2

Though Saigon has lost quite a bit of its verdant luster over the years, there are still patches of green throughout the city that are worth checking out.Vietnam Coraclehas made a handy guide to some ...

in Culture

14 Incredible Satellite Photos Of Vietnam

There are plenty of hi-tech ways to show Vietnam’s beauty – time lapses and drone panoramas to name a few. But a less common vantage point is from above. Way above.

in Culture

15 Amazing Moments Captured On Vietnam’s Streets

In Vietnamese cities, streets are where life happens. With few parks available to the country’s urban masses, they serve as everything from entertainment venues to wedding halls to restaurants. They a...

Partner Content