In Phnom Penh, I was fortunate to visit the Secondary School of Fine Arts at Russei Keo, the new, rather inconveniently located campus for the Royal University of Fine Arts dance school. A thirty-minute ride from the center of the city, I arrived by tuk-tuk as some of the dancers were still arriving by motor scooter.
Most classical dance roles are danced by women, so first I watched the girls. In an open-air pavilion, about 100 girls were preparing their sampot chang kben, the sarong-like cloth used to make trousers.
|preparing the sampot chang kben|
|adding a belt|
|starting the exercises|
|moving through the exercises|
An accompanist played a rompeat xylophone.
|monkey dancers in rehearsal|
|performing the welcome or blessing dance|
|the coconut dance, a folk dance|
|Hanuman's army of monkeys|
|after the performance with one of the School of Fine Arts dancers|