The rite of springing : Sacred Dancers of Angkor

The rite of springing : Sacred Dancers of Angkor


The rite of springing :

Sacred Dancers of Angkor

22 July 2018

Depositary of the most revered traditions in Khmer dance, Sacred Dancers of Angkor is now performing twice a week in Siem Reap.

Night is slowly enveloping this venerable wooden house on the bank of Siem Reap river. Huddled on the first floor, dancers already dressed for the performance mark a pause for meditation and prayers before receiving their crowns.

With the gentle and inspiring poise of a muse, mentor and mother, Ravynn Karet-Coxen, founder of the Banteay Srei Dance Conservatoire and the Sacred Dancers company, blesses each one of the performers, first the girls, then the boys, and hands them their tiara or mask, depending on the role they’re going to embody.

“They handcrafted it by themselves”, she will explain later, “they know that the spirit of dance has descended into these apparel.”

Soon afterwards, the dancers take up the stage downstairs, surrounded by majestic trees.

After more than ten years of daily training at the Conservatoire (under the patronage of Princess Buppha Devi, the soul of the Cambodian Royal Ballet), they glide effortlessly on their bare feet or spring out of the dark.

We are far from the touristy “apsara dances” staged in restaurants around Angkor. Solemnity alternates with joyfulness, hieratic moments with bouncing battle scenes.

“We have a mission here, which is to protect, promote and perpetuate the authenticity of the legacy of Khmer ballet with a unique spiritual dimension,” remarks Ravynn Karet who, in spite of UNESCO recognition, leads a constant struggle to ensure the financial survival of what is both a school and a sanctuary, all in the name of dance.

Divine Sala
Sunday and Wednesday, 7-8 pm,
234 River Road, Siem Reap
+885 12 77 2641
Funds go directly to support the dancers and their community in Banteay Srei.

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