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 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, 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.
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 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
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 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 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
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
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
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.
I took a short video at the dance presentation at Sungai Pasu home stay at Pahang, Malaysia. Sometimes it is easier to talk via a video than words. You can see three Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012 participants joining the locals. The gentleman who started it all was from Japan and he was quite popular with the ladies of Sungai Pasu after that! After the performance was over the ladies of Sungai Pasu went in for an extended photo shoot with the Japanese delegate!
We had a short chat where he asked me if I knew of a video game Mario and I asked, “who Super Mario?” That was greeted with shots of joy and the question did I play it too? Sadly the answer to that is in the negative.
The dancers were also quite gracious after the performances and would readily agree to pose with us. They would also invite us to dance at the end of the performances. This would lead to two scenarios. Some people would be waiting for the opportunity to get on to the stage and have a good time. And then there were some like me who would not give the eye contact to the dancers who would come to the audience and invite them, praying that they go away. I think we were equally divided! Apart from the formal dinner at Putrajaya, I always escaped. One good way to avoid dancing is to click pictures! Everyone leaves the photographer alone!
Enjoy the dance!
On both my trips to Malaysia I have had the pleasure of watching many dance performances. I do not understand the language but the costumes are really colorful, the movements graceful and the music upbeat.
This was the first performance on the Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012 trip. The group was actually much bigger but I managed to click a decent picture of these lovely ladies only.
At Terengganu they had put up an elaborate dance performance. There was one particular sequence that I saw more than once. From what I can make out it is about fishermen going to the sea and one of them falls ill. Then all of them sit down gloomily around their colleague and suddenly a lot of lovely ladies come around and dance. A healer with grass in hand tires to cure the fallen person. When I asked on of the Malaysian colleagues about it, he said the dance was about healing.
This was another beautiful performance from Terengganu. I had actually recorded some videos and I will post them soon. The videos will probably give you a better idea than my still pictures and words.
I loved their costumes and the makeup, it made for such a pretty picture. I wonder if too many people can carry off blue eye shadow but it looked lovely on this lady!
I thoroughly enjoyed watching and clicking all the dance performances in Malaysia. And now that I am back I wish I had taken more pictures!
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!
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