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The Royal Ballet of Cambodia

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Matthew Villanueva

on 24 March 2014

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Transcript of The Royal Ballet of Cambodia

Performed in
Wat phnom
The Silver Pagoda
The Royal Ballet of Cambodia
Also in The Moonlight Pavillion
The Chenla Theatre
Chaktomuk Conference Hall
is a form of
performing arts
established in
the Royal courts
of Cambodia.
Perform for the purpose of entertainment and ceremonial occassions.
Performed during public occassions and ceremonies
performances entails elaborately dressed dancers performing a slow and figurative set of gestures and poses.
Angkor and Pre Angkor Era

Ritualy perfomed in Temples
Post Angkor Era

Restructed the Royal Court
French Colonial Era

Re invented and called
"Royal Khmer Ballet"
Post Independent Cambodia
esurrected in refugee
camps in eastern.
table w/ decorative pillow
oriental rug or carpet
weapons such as Bows, Swords, Staves and Clubs
Other items such as Flower garlands, Fans and Gold/Silver Flowers as a tribute
Classical dance costumes are highly ornate and heavily embroided, sometimes including Sequins and even Semi precious Gems.
Most of costumes thought to be tha representation of what Divinities wear.
Sampot sarabap
Srang kar
Robang muk
Cheay kraeng
Robang kroay
sloek po
Sampot sarabap
Body chains
There are several types of Crowns w/c denote the Ras of the characters.
The Panchuret
Khmer classical dancers use stylized movements and gestures to convey meaning and tell a story easily.
Kbach- stylized hand gestures
kbach represents various things from nature such as Fruits, Flowers and Leaves.
Khmer Hand Gestures
Neay rong
Neay rong ek - deities, kings, or princes
Philieng ek - aide-de-camp of important characters
Sena ek - the generals

Neang ek - deities, queens or princesses
Neang rong - noblewomen or angels Sampov Keo and Sampov Meas in the
Philieng ek - female aid-de-camp
Neang kamnan or philieng - female servants or attendants
Yeak ek - premiere ogres or asuras
Yeak rong - the lesser ogres
Yeakheney - ogresses, yakkhini

Neay sva khen - monkey generals
Pouk khen sva - monkey soldiers
Other character types
Apsaras - celestial nymphs
Kinnorey - the mythical kinnaris
Maccha - mermaids
Ngoh - a special masculine role depicting a negrito

The music used for Khmer
classical dance is played by
a pinpeat ensemble. This type of
orchestra consists of several types
of xylophones, drums, oboes,
gongs, and other musical
Roneat dek
Kong thom
One of the earliest records of dance in Cambodia is from the 7th century, where performances were used as a funeral rite for kings.
In the 20th century, the use of dancers is also attested in funerary processions, such as that for King Sisowath Monivong. During the Angkor period, dance was ritually performed at temples.
The temple dancers came to be considered as apsaras, who served as entertainers and messengers to divinities.
Ancient stone inscriptions, describe thousands of apsara dancers assigned to temples and performing divine rites as well as for the public. The tradition of temple dancers declined during the 15th century, as the Siamese kingdom of Ayutthaya raided Angkor.
When Angkor fell, its artisans, Brahmins, and dancers were taken captive to Ayutthaya.

In the 19th century, King Ang Duong, who had spent 27 years as a captive prince in the Siamese court in Bangkok, restructured his royal court in Cambodia with Siamese innovations from the Rattanakosin period.

Court dancers under the patronage of the royal court of Siam were sent to the royal court in Cambodia during this period.
Post-Angkor Era

Dancers of the court of King Sisowath were exhibited at the 1906 Colonial Exposition in Marseilles at the suggestion of George Bois, a French representative in the Cambodian court.
Auguste Rodin was captivated by the Cambodian dancers and painted a series of water colors of the dancers.
The fact that George Groslier, the French-colonial director of the Phnom Penh Musée Sarraut (today the National Museum), had 're-invented' large parts of the ballet through his studies of the bas-reliefs of Angkor Wat, is part of a indeed hybrid heritage construction called 'Royal Khmer Ballet' which ranks today as 'pure and authentic' heritage on the highly essentialist UNESCO Intangible Heritage List.
French Colonial Era

Queen Sisowath Kossamak became a patron of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia. Under the Queen's guidance, several reforms were made to the royal ballet, including choreography. Dance dramas were dramatically shortened from all-night spectacles to about 1 hour length. Prince Norodom Sihanouk featured the dances of the royal ballet in his films.
The dance tradition received a detriment during the Khmer Rouge regime during which many dancers were put to death in the genocide. Although 90 percent of all Cambodian classical artists perished between 1975 and 1979 after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, those who did survive wandered out from hiding, found one another, and formed "colonies" in order to revive their sacred traditions.Khmer classical dance training was resurrected in the refugee camps in eastern Thailand with the few surviving Khmer dancers. Many dances and dance dramas were also recreated at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Cambodia.
In 2003 it was inducted into the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
Post-Independent Cambodia
King Sisowath Monoving
Siamese Court in Cambodia
George Bois
Queen Samdech Preah Mahaksatriyani Sisowath Kossomak Nearireth Serey Vatthana
Khmer Ballet Video
Khmer Ballet music and dance
The Panchuret
- reserved for Princess and Generals

- Circlet like crown w/ a faux knot

Mokot ksat
- tall single crown worn by the female royal characters and highest ranks.

The Rat klao
- worn by maidens

Mokot ksatrey
- same as mokot ksat worn by the male royal characters
The masks of the monkeys are the same colour as their dance costumes and is determined by that which traditional ascribes to the officer commanding monkeys:
Hanuman, white
Nippaphat, black
Surgreep, red
Peelee, green.
Floral Adorments
Dancers are traditionally adorned with fragrant flowers, although sometimes, fresh flowers are substituted with faux flowers.
The floral tassel is traditionally made of
Jasminum sambac
strung together with
Michelia flowers
, being either Michelia × alba or Michelia champaca.
The neang (female) role wears a rose above the right ear and a floral tassel attached to the left side of the crown while the neay rong (male) role wears a rose on the left ear and a floral tassel to the right side. Sometimes, dancers will wear jasmine garlands fit for the wrists.
The apsara role is most often adorned with the flowers of either Plumeria obtusa or white cultivars of Plumeria rubra; sometimes plumerias are tied along the back of their hair.
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