The Apsara Dance is a KhmerThis dance helps us experience the tension between earthly groundedness and heavenly lightness.
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The Khmer Apsara Dance is one of the many Khmer dances taught by Master Teachers at the Angkor Dance Troupe. Check out our currentto see how you can participate in one of our activities.
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The Apsara Dance reflects one of the origin myths in Cambodia, depicting the union of Mera, a celestial dancer, and Kambu, a wise man.
As with many classical dances today, the Apsara was painstakingly constructed or reconstructed by studying the figures carved onto the walls of Angkor Wat. Much of this work was done in the mid-twentieth century following the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime. Surrounded by four or six dancers, crowned with elaborate golden headdresses, the central figure, the Apsara Mera, leads her coterie on an outing to a delectable garden. The dance allows us to feel the tension and necessity of earthly groundedness and heavenly lightness.
The beauty and exquisite appearance of each dancer in the Apsara Dance is preceded by an elaborate preparation time where each dancer prepares not only physically but mentally for the role they will perform. Take a sneak peak backstage to view how master teachers prepare performers to dance the Apsara Dance.
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Learn more about the costuming through the manywe offer to youth.
Apsara Costuming Video
Watch as you see the elaborate preparation of dancers as they prepare to dance the Apsara. In the video you will see the precise placement of clothing items by a master teacher as the elegance of the dance is passed from generation to generation.
What's the meaning of different pieces of clothing worn by the dancers?
How do dance movements imitate their real life counterparts?
Watch as Master Teacher Proeung Chhieng, former Dean of Fine Arts at the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) in Phnon Penh, Cambodia explains more precisely the meanings behind different costumes and movements.
Each hand gesture signifies something different and is often performed in unison with other gestures, often in a very specific order. Many dances use common gestures.
as you learn more about the beauty and the story of the dance.