Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Movin' weekend

Not sure why or how, but a new dance performance coming up this weekend, had managed to elude me until today. Especially as it includes my favourite Cambodian dancer, Belle (right), and some of the great young dancing talent the country is blessed with. Movin' is a contemporary meets classical piece that will be hosted by Sovanna Phum this coming Saturday and Sunday at 7.30pm. Tickets for barang cost $6, $2 for Khmers. With choreography by Yon Davy and the dancers themselves, under the direction of Bob Ruijzendaal, it's another step forward in the cycle of new works by the group known as New Cambodian Artists. Find out more here. Belle performed in the Hong Kong Arts Festival earlier this month with Emmanuèle Phuon's piece, Khmeropedies II and will be in Singapore in late May. Then it's off to the United States in June to perform Khmeropedies I and II in New Haven and at the Baryshnikov Arts Centre in New York, and back to Singapore in August. Joining Belle on stage for the Khmeropedies performance will be the absolute cream of Cambodia's dancers: Sam Sathya, Chey Chankethya and Phon Sopheap.
Tomorrow night, as I'm enjoying the luxury of a river cruise, the Children of the Bassac will present their final show at the National Museum in Phnom Penh, starting at 7pm and lasting an hour. Tickets are $18 from 012 650 229. They'll perform in eight separate sections of the show including classical Apsara and minority dances. Supported by Cambodian Living Arts, they hope this will lead to more regular performances beginning at the end of this year. This is definitely worth supporting, the dancers are extremely good and the cause is a great one too.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

More dance for your delectation

Belle in the 2009 Dansez Roam! performance at Chenla Theatre
Dansez Roam! will hit the stage again next month. This is an on-going series of events produced by the French Cultural Center and Amrita that provides a platform for young contemporary Khmer dancers to express themselves, often in collaboration with foreign artists. It was last April that Belle took the Chenla Theatre audience by storm with her Hope of Tomorrow show and she'll be part of the forthcoming Suites (original music and choreographic piece based on the Bach Suites 1, 2, and 3) and La rue danse (small choreographic) performances, that are scheduled for Chenla and Wat Botum on 12/13th and 28 February respectively. It's not a one-woman performance though as the cream of Cambodia's artists will be joining her including Phon Sopheap, Chey Chankethya, Mom, Yon Davy, Vuth Chanmoly and many more. In March, Belle and the cast of Khmeropedies take their show to Hong Kong and Singapore and to the United States in June.

Tomorrow at Olympic Stadium will see the first matches in the Hun Sen Cup last 16 knockout stage with Phnom Penh Crown and Wat Phnom looking likely to succeed against lesser opponents. Games are at 2pm and 4pm and there are two more matches on Sunday, when BBU and Naga will progress. However, cup football has a way of bringing the big boys to their knees on occasions (just ask Man Utd), so fingers crossed we'll see some giant-killing. Though if PPCrown are losing, they'll probably walk off the pitch, as they did in last season's CPL third place play-off!

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's all about dance

Performers from the Khmer Arts Ensemble at practice
There's a lot of dance stuff taking place this year, whether its classical, contemporary and a combination of both. When I hear about it, you'll know too. Currently in town are a collective from Singapore and beyond under the auspices of the Flying Circus Project, hosted by Amrita Performing Arts. They're in Phnom Penh at the moment but will be going up to Siem Reap in a day or two. Not sure if the collaboration with local artists like Belle will translate into a public performance anywhere. Meanwhile Meta House will be hosting a couple of Saturday night dance pieces directed by Bob Ruijzendaal over the next two weekends. On 9 January, Leng Sakkona will collaborate with Mom and Davy for an experimental piece linked to sounds and on 16 January, Mom, Davy and Sopheap will present a revision of a show they performed a few weeks ago at the same venue. Later in the year Amrita will be taking their Khmeropedies II project to Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and New Haven. Created by Emmanuèle Phuon, it has elements of classical court dance and contemporary movements and will involve such luminaries as Belle, Sam Sathya and Chey Chankethya. Also the Khmer Arts Ensemble under the tutelage of Sophiline Cheam Shapiro will be putting on classical shows in Cambodia before heading over to the United States later in the year for a major tour.
A brand new book dedicated to dance in Cambodia is just out. Beyond the Apsara – Celebrating Dance in Cambodia was co-edited by Stephanie Burridge and Fred Frumberg of Amrita and published by Routledge India. With ten chapters by established international practitioners and 25 essays written by a wide range of Cambodian dancers, the book honors the many efforts to revitalize Cambodian dance, as well as while expressing the hopes and fears of today’s generation of Cambodian dancers. The launch took place at the World Dance Alliance conference in New Delhi at the end of November. Additional launches are scheduled in Singapore and Phnom Penh early this year. 242 pages and retailing at just under $100. A peek at the contents reveals essays from HRH Princess Buppha Devi, Toni Shapiro-Phim, Hun Pen, Sophiline Cheam Shapiro and others. And Belle is on the front cover photo.

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