There’s more to traditional Khmer dance than fun and visual pleasure. In fact, apsara dance is more akin to theatre than a dance – perhaps a better way to describe it is as dance-drama, a show that acts out the lyrics, emotions and meaning of a song/poem.
In Cambodian culture, apsara is the name given to all female figures that are dancing or are poised to dance, and the ritual itself has been part of the Khmer culture as long as records began. Sadly, due to certain disruptions of the Khmer civilization, the traditional style hasn’t been passed down through generations to a precise degree, but inspiration from Angkorian-era art and themes have aided the development of the dance since the 18th century.
What now exists is an educated interpretation of the original Khmer dance which is replicated throughout Cambodia as part of the country’s cultural heritage. Most dance performances you might see today offer a mixture of Classical and Traditional Folk dances for ceremonial or theatrical purposes.
The most well-known interpretation is ‘Apsara Dance’ which is a gentle experience with soft, slow movements and subtle facial expressions with the apsara dancers dressed in ornate costumes. The dance presents stories inspired by the epic poem Reamker, based on the Sanskrit Ramayana poem.
One of the things we like most about our work is the chance to offer travelers something different. Anyone interested in learning more about Khmer culture can learn all about this ancient art at our Apsara Dance Classes at the Selapak Studio. We’ll take you to learn about this fascinating dance style with Sen Pich, a dedicated teacher who once performed for Cambodian royalty at the Palace.
Sen Pich will teach you all you need to know during a private session to learn not just the movements and gestures, but also the meaning and interpretations of the dance.
To find out more about this insider experience, get in touch with one of our locally based Cambodian Travel Specialists who’ll be happy to assist you plan the vacation of your dreams!