Each country usually has some kind of traditional dance for which they are (in)famous. There is Morris Dancing in the UK (people whacking sticks together), the Schuhplattler in Germany (people whacking their hands and legs together) or the Tango in Argentina (people whacking their…..anyway).
Cambodia’s traditional dance is the Apsara dance. The dance is probably better described as ‘dance-drama’, in that the dances are not merely dance, but are also meant to convey a story or message.
We have had the pleasure of witnessing this dance during a wedding ceremony and a public event on Human Rights Day, but you can also view performances in restaurants or hotels in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. This type of dance has been part of Khmer culture for well over a millennium. The graceful movements of the Apsara dancers, adorned with gold headdresses and silken tunics and skirts, are even carved on the walls of the many ancient temples at Angkor.
|Some male Apsara dancers|
If you are up for a challenge tourists can have a go at learning some Apsara at special dance classes. I think I will give it a miss though: gracefulness, tight costumes and flexibility are not necessarily the skills of a heavy footed, stiff German, who can’t even manage to sit cross-legged. If you fancy learning how to dance Apsara though you can learn it at the Apsara Dance Troupe.