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Finding Phlauv and the Creative Power of Contemporary Cambodian Performance


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How does contemporary Cambodian performance portray the complexity of “being human”? Cambodian classical arts remain a crucial spiritual and embodied connection between the past and present. Building on classical styles, this webinar shows how contemporary performance continues these connections while speaking to personal and societal challenges reflective of everyday life. This presentation focuses on Khun Chay’s choreography Phlauv (The Way) as one example of how contemporary performance renders the intricacies of being human as being situated within local realities and the global postmodern. Phlauv, literally meaning road or path, is an artistic concept in Khmer that represents the legacy of teachers in Khmer classical music and dance through passing on of technique and stylistic form. Mr. Zheng explores Khun’s work Phlauv to consider how the artist integrates his personal narrative with the histories embedded in Khmer classical dance. He highlights the value and significance of contemporary Cambodian performance in generating a new path forward for Cambodian arts and articulating how local and global conditions shape our lives. 


Speaker: Mr. Allan Zheng is a CKS Dissertation Research Fellow and a PhD candidate at the University of California, Riverside. His research focuses on expressions of identity and societal issues in contemporary Cambodian performing arts. Allan’s work is supported through the Center for Khmer Studies Dissertation Research Fellowship; Society for Asian Music Small Grant; and UC Riverside Center for Ideas and Society Humanities Grant. Allan holds an MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Riverside and a BA in Music from Colorado College. 

Moderator: Dr. Darith Ea received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh in 1995, his Master’s degree from Kyoto University in 2000, and his Doctoral degree from Osaka Ohtani University in Japan in 2010. From 2000 to June 2021, he has been working at APSARA National Authority, teaching “The History of Khmer Ceramics” at the Royal University of Fine Arts, and teaching “The History of Cambodia and World History” at Pannasastra University. Since July 2021, he has been working at the National Authority for Preah Vihear as Director of the Department of Conservation and Archaeology.

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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