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Becoming a Cambodian Dance Teacher: Honor and Responsibility after the Fall of the Khmer Rouge

This webinar was recorded on March 18, 2022


Within the practice of classical dance and lakhon khol (all-male masked dance drama) in Cambodia, the relationship between dance teachers and their students is at once intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and kinesthetic. The first generation to study dance and then become teachers of the art after the fall of Democratic Kampuchea carried the particular weight of this relationship in a unique historical moment. Most accomplished practitioners of classical dance and lakhon khol had perished under the Khmer Rouge, and survivors were trying to recall and pass on valued (and sometimes sacred) embodied knowledge, all while war for control of the country continued to rage. This webinar will feature reflections and insights from a dozen or so dancers who became teachers in the 1980s. Performers and teachers will respond to introductory remarks and questions by Dr. Shapiro-Phim, to video clips from the early 1990s, and to footage taken of them by Dr. Shapiro-Phim as part of her doctoral research. 

This event will be held in Khmer and English simultaneous interpretation will be available on Zoom.  


Dr. Toni Shapiro-Phim is a dance ethnologist and cultural anthropologist. She conducted dissertation research in Cambodia from 1990-1992, and in Site 2 Displaced Persons Camp in 1989, and received her Ph.D, writing about dance and war in Cambodia, from Cornell University. Currently Associate Professor of Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation at Brandeis University (USA), she situated her community work, research, writing and teaching at the nexus of the arts and social justice and human rights concerns. She is also a director of the Global Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts.


Ms. Samedy Suong, CKS Head of Programs

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the publications and through webinars are solely those of the authors or speakers. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Center for Khmer Studies, Inc. The designations employed in the publications and through the webinars, and the presentation of material therein, do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of The Center for Khmer Studies, Inc. as to the matters discussed therein. The responsibility for opinions expressed in the publications and webinars are solely those of the authors or speakers, and the publication does not constitute an endorsement by The Center for Khmer Studies, Inc. of the opinions, views or issues discussed therein.


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