Apsara - Royal Court Dancers
These Apsara, the heavenly nymphs that practice Cambodian
royal court dancing, were carved on the walls of Angkor
temples. For centuries their delicate movements represented
one of the highest artistic achievements in this culture.
Then Cambodia fell under control of the Khmer Rouge in
1975-1979. In their effort to destroy the old Cambodia,
Apsara were targeted for extermination by the Khmer Rouge.
The Khmer Rouge failed to exterminate Apsara, and the few
survivors taught new generations of dancers. In a Siem Reap
hotel, the tourist city near Angkor, it was my privilege to film
an Apsara performance, which can only be fully appreciated
by watching the video. Stills are inadequate.
Apsara costumes are opulent displays of color. They dance
to a gamelan orchestra in a style featuring hand gestures.
Many of the dances have a Hindu origin. The Apsara are
all women, but a man plays the threatening monkey/demon.
By the time she came on, I was learning
how to properly film Apsara.
The Apsara presentation concluded with all of the
dancers performing together in unison.
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the
Intrepid Berkeley Explorer's free video of this trip by clicking
on: Ho Asked Me to Go