How Cambodian dance survived after so much death

A class in traditional dance at the Khmer Arts Academy in Takmao, Cambodia. (James Wasserman/SE Globe)

A class in traditional dance at the Khmer Arts Academy in Takmao, Cambodia. (James Wasserman/SE Globe)

IN the beginning warring gods and demons churned the cosmic ocean, and celestial dancers called apsaras emerged from the froth. That’s one story about Cambodian dance, its origin myth. This tale is preserved in bas-reliefs on the monumental temples of Angkor, created (like the dance) during the Khmer Empire (802-1431), left to become ruins during centuries of vassalage and rediscovered in the 19th and 20th centuries as emblems, first of royal pride and then of national identity.

More at The New York Times Dance.

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