Khmer dance has witnessed something of a global resurgence in recent years. Since 2010, Emmanuele Phuon’s Khmeropedies has dazzled audiences from Singapore to New York. More recently, Sophiline Cheam Shapiro and her Khmer Arts Ensemble have done the same.
Now yet another Cambodian-based dance group, this one from the Nginn Karet Foundation for Cambodia, has been gallivanting across the United States mesmerizing crowds and winning acclaim. Part dance troupe, part congregation of monks, the NKFC is a spiritually centered ensemble that performs “rare classical, folk and sacred Khmer dance.” On their just completed U.S. tour, the group blessed the holy places of the Cambodian diaspora with chants and dance.
“Cambodian-Americans came here as refugees,” said Ravynn Karet-Coxen, founder of the Nginn Karet Foundation for Cambodia, a British charity that launched the dance school. “They were firsthand sufferers. So the notion is for us to come here to bridge and bond the American Cambodian back to the motherland: to bond and bridge them spiritually and culturally.”
The dancers and seven musicians, ages 12 to 19, come from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor in Cambodia, considered the largest religious monument in the world. The students live in homes without electricity or running water.
“They’re not children from a privileged background, but they’re the descendants of the god of Angkor,” Karet-Coxen said.
The NKFC troupe returns from the United States soon. They perform semi-regularly around Siem Reap. Look out for them.
VIA: Travel and Leisure.