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La Nuit de Vesunna - Danses traditionnelles du Cambodge

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A celebration of Cambodian dance, rich in poetry and tradition.

With explosive colours and dazzling costumes (it takes 4 hours to sew them directly onto the dancers’ bodies), the traditional dances of Cambodia feature an array of human, animal and magical characters. The dancers are highly-trained, transforming their bodies in the pursuit of maximum flexibility, all while performing enigmatic, poetic gestures with their hands. A series of figures in perpetual movement, these gestures are highly elaborate, strictly codified and generally performed slowly and deliberately.

Over more than a thousand years, Khmer artists have developed a form of theatrical dance rooted in sacred ritual. Over the centuries, countless royal legends have been added to the canon of epic tales. This sacred art is very much rooted in everyday experience, informed by Theravada Buddhism but still retaining the influence of the animistic worship of local deities that previously existed under the aegis of Brahmanism.

Restored to its former glory after the dark years of conflict and genocide, Cambodia’s classical dances offer a wealth of exuberant characters, extravagant visual beauty and the emotional heft of a sacred tradition: the Royal Ballet, recognised as a masterpiece of intangible cultural heritage (UNESCO listed since 2003).

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PROGR 1: Bounsoung, Hanuman and Sovann Maccha
PROGR 2: Hanuman Battambang, Moni Mekahala and Ream Eyso
Lead dancer in the role of Neang (female lead): Mam Kanika
Lead dancer in the role of Nearung (male lead) and Yeak (the giant): Chhim Borena
Lead dancer in the role of Sva (the monkey) and Yeak (the giant):  Leng Santha
Photos credits : Maurice Melliet

More informations

  • Place of capture : Musée Vesunna
  • Collection : Mimos 2010

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