The Angkor Dance Troupe has the privilege of having both highly trained and experienced Board and Staff members who are dedicated to the mission and purpose of the dance troupe.
Tim Chan Thou learned Cambodian folk dance and became certified as a folk dance instructor in a refugee camp along the Thai-Cambodian border. He was 21 when he arrived at Khao-I-Dang, traumatized by his wartime experiences in Khmer Rouge-controlled work camps and by the deaths of his parents and four siblings. For Tim, teaching traditional Cambodian dance became a way to keep part of his heritage alive. He went on to teach and dance at the Philippine Refugee Center before immigrating to the U.S. in 1982.
Tim brought to the U.S. a passion to carry on and develop traditional Cambodian dance, to perform, to teach others, and to see the traditions preserved for future generations of people of all cultures. In 1986, he and another teacher founded the Angkor Dance Troupe. Today, the Troupe is one of the most respected Cambodian dance ensembles in the country, with several highly qualified master teachers and more than forty students.
Tim’s vision and dedication have brought the troupe to its present level of recognition. His many roles in managing the troupe include instruction, bookkeeping, management of the dance wardrobe, and directing performances. In recognition of his untiring commitment to improve the community and his willingness to devote his life to preserving Cambodian culture, Community Teamwork honored Tim with its prestigious Local Hero award in 1997 and individual achievement award from Massachusetts Cultural Council in 2005.
Phousita Huy is an internationally recognized master performer and instructor of Cambodian classical dance. She emigrated from the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) in Phnom Penh, considered the world’s cultural source and artistic standard bearer for traditional Cambodian dance.
Phousita was among the hundreds of thousands forced to evacuate the city when Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia in 1975. After the Khmer Rouge regime was overthrown in 1979, Phousita made her way back to Phnom Penh with the surviving members of her family, having lost her father and one of her brothers in the war.
In the early 1980s, Phousita was invited to audition at the newly reopened RUFA after a senior dance master saw her perform in a recital at a workers union. Phousita became part of a select group to work closely with Chea Samy, one of the most senior dance masters to survive the war. She was a member of the first group of post-war graduates of the University in 1988 and went on to teach and perform for many years. She toured internationally, performing in Japan, China, Vietnam, North and South Korea, India and USA. Phousita was one of a small number of artists chosen to perform the sacred Boung Soung dance when the royal family returned to Cambodia in 1991.
Phousita served as Cambodia’s Assistant Minister of Culture and as Festival Coordinator for the International Dance Festival at Angkor Wat in December 1995. She authored and presented papers on Cambodian classical dance at the international World Dance Alliance Conference in Korea in 1995. Her story became the focus of a stage drama performed throughout Great Britain in 1990. She was profiled in a feature on Cambodian dance published in Natural History Magazine in 1989. She also participated in a documentation project in Hawaii conducted by Toni Shapiro, Ph.D., that became part of an extensive archive on Cambodian dance at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.
Peter Veth, Assistant Artistic Director as well as a premiere dancer with the Angkor Dance Troupe, has been training since the age of 11. Also experienced in a diversity of dance styles - hip-hop, modern, and Indian Classical - Peter has been choreographing dance pieces fusing all of his disciplines. He is the chief dance choreographer for the Shadow Worlds program with assistance from Phousita Huy, Artistic Director for the Angkor Dance Troupe and is a principal performer for the piece. Fashion mogul for the youth of Lowell, Peter has designed and modeled his unique sense of fashion.
Peter joined the Troupe when he was 11 years old. As a young child, he had viewed videos of dancers from the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh while on their world dance tour in 1990. He fell in love with the grace and beauty of the dances and became interested in learning Cambodian classical and folk dances. He also expressed an innate interest and desire to learn the background history and culture that each dance conveys. When he was introduced to Angkor Dance Troupe, he had the chance to put his dreams into practice. At 13, Peter discovered another dance passion: hip hop. He and three other dancers in the Troupe formed a hip hop dance crew. In 1999 the dance crew grew larger and is one of the recognizing dance crew in Lowell. He is the lead choreographer of Emphatic Force. He is involved with Static Noyze 6 that was featured on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew season 5. Tim Thou, founder and director of Angkor Dance Troupe, said, “I strongly believe that Peter was born to be a dancer.”
Peter’s success has inspired many students to study and perform with the zeal that Peter has. His success on the national stage has instilled pride in other students and the staff of Angkor Dance Troupe.
Linda Sou is the current President of the Angkor Board of Directors. Linda has been involved with Troupe since her early childhood, as a dancer, an instructor, and a strong supporter of the Troupe. She often makes public presentations about the Troupe and about Cambodian arts and culture. In August of 2009, Linda completed her graduate studies at Springfield College – Boston Campus with a Master’s of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management. Linda graduated from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) with a BA in Sociology, with a double minor in Social Work and Criminal Justice. Most recently in 2010, Linda was selected and completed a six-month program - Public Matters: Empowering Lowell’s Leader Program and completed Interise’s Streetwise MBA program March of 2011. Linda was also a lead subject in the documentary film, “Monkey Dance” by Julie Mallozzi which has been screened throughout the United States to raise awareness on intergenerational challenges facing Cambodian youth in Lowell, MA.
Linda is the Director of Lowell Community Health Center’s Teen Coalition, working with a team of youth development specialists serving young people of the City of Lowell in an after-school setting. She is facilitator of communication with staff leadership, subcontracted partners, and local youth providers; she maintains relationships with public/private funders and develops grant proposals to support sustainability. Linda and her team support the healthy development of young people and empower them to become leaders in the community. Her previous work experience includes extensive employment in other youth-serving organizations.
Sochenda Uch, Secretary, has been on the Angkor Board of Directors for two years. Sochenda was a dancer with the troupe for five years, from age 11 to 16, learning both classical and folk dances. Since 2008, he has worked as Youth Leadership Program Coordinator for Lowell Community Health Center.
Sochenda graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2007 with a Bachelor in Fine Arts in Industrial Design (product design). During his four years in college he co-founded "Kinematix," a hip hop dance group at Northeastern University and served as the group's first Public Relations Officer.
In 2008, Sochenda moved back to Lowell to be closer to his family. Since then Sochenda has been a part of the LCHC Teen Coalition team and have been providing assistance to youth through the after school programs.
Sochenda is also one of three main stars in the documentary film "Monkey Dance" directed by Julie Mallozzi. Monkey Dance is a documentary film about three teens coming of age in Lowell, Massachusetts. Children of Cambodian refugees, they inhabit a tough, working class world shadowed by their parents' nightmares of the Khmer Rouge.
I am excited and honored to join the Angkor Board of Directors. In 2009 Lianna moved to Lowell to pursue her M.A. in Economic and Social Development of Regions from UMass Lowell. Currently employed as a Program Associate at the Merrimack Valley Sandbox, Lianna's work keeps her engaged and involved in the Lowell and Lawrence communities supporting entrepreneurship and leadership.
Prior to moving to Lowell, Lianna worked at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. She received her B.A. in East Asian Languages and Literature from Smith College. Lianna also serves on the Board of Directors for the Revolving Museum. In her spare time Lianna enjoys running, jewelry making, and playing taiko with The Genki Spark.
I was involved with the Troupe for about seven years, from age 12 to 19 learning classical, folk, and the monkey dances. I was one of the former dancers who combined the traditional monkey dance with modern break dancing and gymnastics. In 1999, I was one of the four monkey dancers who performed at the White House for former President Bill Clinton and the President's Committee of the Arts and Humanities, when the Troupe was accepting the "Coming Up Taller Award".
I am employed at Jeanne D'Arc Credit Union since 2006. I started as a Teller, then promoted to Member Service Representative and currently working as a Financial Risk Management Analyst. I graduated from Salem State University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration majoring in Accounting and served on the Asian Student Association Board as Vice President (2005) and Secretary (2006). Currently I am pursuing my Master of Business Administration in Accounting at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. I am a CPA candidate member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and a student member of the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants."
Linda Uch is the current Clerk for the Angkor Board of Directors. Linda Uch graduated from the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a bachelor's degree in political science.
Linda is a research assistant for the Centers for Women in Politics & Public Policy under the Women's Pipeline Project. Her responsibilities include the implementation of the PAR project; coordination of trainings and meetings with Research Fellows; oversight of all project personnel; management of administrative and logistical tasks; and assist in the coordination process for development of the project.
Dr. Lydia Breckon became a board member in March 2010. She worked as Angkor's development director for one year on a special grant from the Parker Foundation.
Lydia has over 20 years of nonprofit fundraising and program management experience. She has worked for immigrant/refugee organizations, colleges and museums in Massachusetts and California, as resource developer, program director and educator. A cultural anthropologist (Yale 1999), Lydia specializes in Southeast Asian migration to the US and is particularly interested in cultural resources of immigrant communities. She is now employed as Development Director of a performing arts non-profit in Providence, RI. Lydia works to connect funders, donors and the wider public with nonprofit programs that they can wholeheartedly support.
"Sovanna is very excited to combine his experience in non-profit youth work and design together with his passion and dedication for the Lowell community, as a member of the Board of Directors for the Angkor Dance Troupe. Born in the Khao-I-Dang refugee camp in Thailand, Sovanna and his family moved to the United States in 1981, first to Chicago and then settled in Lowell to reconnect with family members who were separated during the Khmer Rouge Regime. Fluent in both English and Khmer, he hopes to bring people together from all backgrounds to learn about the rich Cambodian culture.
As a teenager Sovanna was part of Big Brother Big Sister's Adam Project that founded and coordinated the annual "Dance for Peace" event that brings together over a thousand youth each year. Currently, Sovanna serves as the Building Arts & Design Coordinator for the United Teen Equality Center's green building expansion project overseeing the overall design aesthetics. Sovanna graduated from Lowell High School in 1999 and received his Associate of Arts in Graphic Design from Middlesex Community College."
I am 27 years of age. I am a LHS graduate currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science at Middlesex Community College. I am an Engineering Technician at TE SubCom based in Lowell. I used to serve as a Treasurer for United Teen Equality Center's teen governing body. I also served on UTEC's Board of Directors for one year as well.
I use to be a member of the River Ambassador Program and also volunteered at the Southeast Asian Water Festival in 1997- 2000. I want to get back into community services and nonprofits because I enjoy helping others and empowering youths and also want to help build a stronger community in the City of Lowell for the Cambodian Community and for the Youths as well. My future goals are to start a business in Lowell and possible run for City Council one day.
Walter Wright is a co-founder of 119 Gallery. 119 Gallery promotes contemporary and new media art, innovative ideas and cutting-edge techniques with a rich and diverse program of exhibitions, performances and community-based arts services; and welcomes people of all ages, backgrounds and means to explore and experience new, innovative art. He is video artist and musician; a member of bodydrama, a multi-media dance troupe, Apocalypso a free-jazz quartet, and the Lak Wright Duo. He teaches in the Fine Arts Department at UMass Lowell.