Monday, January 18, 2010


The cover of the book Beyond the Apsara, with contemporary dancer Belle in full flow
There's a book that was published by Routledge of India at the back-end of last year about Cambodia but which is a bit like gold-dust here at the moment. There's only a couple of books in the country just now with more expected soon. I've been loaned a copy of it - Beyond the Apsara: Celebrating Dance in Cambodia - to have a good look through which I'm doing right now. To say I'm disappointed that Em Theay has been given just a single paragraph in the book would be an understatement, and if it wasn't for an article by Hun Pen then it could also have overlooked the tireless work of another dance master, Chea Samy, to resurrect Khmer classical dance after the Pol Pot period. Contemporary dance is given more column inches than ever before, and combined with articles on classical dance, it looks like the book will present a far more in-depth look at Cambodian dance than ever before, especially with some mini-interviews with 25 dance artists of different ages. It's been printed by an academic publisher so the photos inside the book are poorly printed, which gets a minus mark. More on the book later when I've read it from cover to cover.



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