Scintillating Dances from Siem Reap, Cambodia

By Mridula Dwivedi September 21, 2013 31 Comments , , , ,

I spent just one night and two days in Cambodia but what an everlasting impact it left. As part of the ASEAN Media Trip we were hosted for dinner by the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism at Royal Angkor Resort. Along with the dinner, they also hosted a scintillating dance show for us. The scene was like this- we were being served dinner and the dance shows were going on simultaneously. It effectively meant that at the start of every new sequence, we would dump dinner and crouch around the stage to click pictures and make videos. Then we would go back to dinner only to run back to another dance! And what fun it was to watch the dances from Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Sita and Her Friend, Ramayana at Cambodia

Sita and Her Friend, Ramayana at Siem Reap, Cambodia

I was quite surprised to see Ramayana being enacted at Siem Reap. I think their version was a little different than what I am used to in India. But it was beautifully done with glittering costumes and great acting and dancing. The accompanying music was wonderful, though I could not understand everything that went on.

The Golden Deer, Ramayana in Siem Reap

The Golden Deer, Ramayana in Siem Reap, Cambodia

For example, it was easy to relate the golden deer to the Indian version of Ramayana. There was a hermit too in the sequence but beyond it the similarities ended. There were no men, so not sure what happened to the part that is played by Ram and Lakshman.

Ravana Comes on Stage

Ravan Comes on Stage, Siem Reap, Cambodia

The Ramayana was played out in two acts. Ravan made an appearance in both the acts. At the end of the show he came on the stage without the mask and it was great to see the kind face that the person really had!

Another Picture from the Ramayana in Cambodia

Another Still from the Ramayana, Siem Reap, Cambodia

The act ended with a confrontation between Ravan and Sita. It is surprising to see how far and wide some of our old scriptures have reached. My friends say there is another version of Ramayana at Bali too. Hope I can see that too some day.

A Colorful Local Dance, Siem Reap, Cambodia

A Colorful Local Dance, Siem Reap, Cambodia

In between the two acts of Ramayana they presented a peacock themed local dance which resembled a little with our Bollywood dances. It was fast paced and fun to watch.

The Young Dancers with an Attitude

The Young Dancers with an Attitude

The body language of couples seemed quite like the Indian scenario where the boy was interested in the girl but she was not paying much attention to him. The costumes and the peacock feathers added to the drama.

The Beautiful Ladies Performing the Apsara Dance, Siem Reap, Cambodia

The Beautiful Ladies Performing the Apsara Dance, Siem Reap, Cambodia

The final act was the beautiful Apsara dance. In Thailand and Cambodia many souvenirs have the Apsara theme. But it was only after watching the dance I really got interested in them. The dances are advertised all over Siem Reap.

The Apsara Dance, Siem Reap, Cambodia

The Apsara Dance, Siem Reap, Cambodia

With so much clicking of photos you could imagine what would have happened to my dinner. The three of us from India were vegetarians and that anyway presented a challenge for the restaurants we went to. They can cope with vegetarians but certainly is not their way of life!

Beautiful Flowers in Her Hair, Apsara Dance, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Beautiful Flowers in Her Hair, Apsara Dance, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Apart from the Orchids Frangipani is another beautiful flower of the tropics. Loved the way they were used in the hair of the lead dancer for the Apsara Dance. I have red and cream ones in my backyard too but I was blown away by the sheer size of the flowers this girl carried in her hair.

The Entire Cast After the Show, Siem Reap, Cambodia

The Entire Cast After the Show, Siem Reap, Cambodia

After the show the entire cast came on stage to take a bow. They also offered us a photo session with them. It was such a beautiful evening. In spite of not being much into dances and culture I realize that I like one when I manage to chance upon one.

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31 thoughts on “Scintillating Dances from Siem Reap, Cambodia”

    1. Prasad it is easy to see the Indian influence in Cambodia but people there are much more patient than us. At least that is what I concluded in my fleeting visit.

  1. the dancers look lovely…and their costumes so beautiful. Am sure they were absolutely graceful too 🙂 hope i do get a chance some day to watch it live..

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Mridula Dwivedi

I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quite my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!

If you wish to collaborate with me, please check out my media kit. You can write to me at mridulablog@gmail.com

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