“I applaud everyone’s commitment to push their own boundaries. Narim took us to a different world, it was very daring to explore her vocabulary with the metal cube. I believe it is the first time a Cambodian artist uses such props. Chanborey’s work was very fresh and [he was] committed to his own work, on a topic which is sensitive for both his family and himself. Sopheap offered a lovely piece which is the progression of himself as an artist.
Amrita artists take contemporary [dance] to a new level, which benefits them and the society as a whole. It is beyond the mentality to have art for the sake of art, they now offer art for the community, for a better society. As a person, I believe art should have the obligation to give back to society.
Narim reflects on history through the personal story of her grandmother, Borey raises awareness on disabled people through his father’s story and Sopheap tells about the loss of his own art form and tradition.
This fifth edition was very touching and daring. I have noticed six weeks is too short for a very intense process which takes longer than that and therefore I will keep it in mind for next one. I have also realized artists need more dramaturgy to come up with more elaborated works.
At this point, we passed the transition period between classical and contemporary and it is the right time to go further and start the next step. To connect with our own roots is more than dancing with our own vocabulary, with the pending question of how to develop and share this art form so that it can contribute to anyone?”
Amrita’s 5th Contemporary Dance Platform involves 4 Fulbrighters, Chey Chankethya (MFA in Dance/Choreography, UCLA), Jacob David Sudol (Ph.D. 2015-16 Fulbright Taiwan Senior Scholar), Kang Rithisal (MA in Arts Management, SUNY Buffalo), and Sopha Ratana (MA, Environmental Science and Policy, Clark University).
Rithisal (Sal) and Chankethya (Kethya) are the Executive Director and Artistic Director of Amrita Performing Arts, one of the leading performing arts organization in Cambodia. With a dance company of 17 classically trained Cambodian artists, as well as a strong production team, the organization produce works of contemporary dance and theater that tour nationally and internationally. The Contemporary Dance Platform provides opportunities to Cambodian emerging dance makers to create their new works. Invited to the platform, Jacob shares his choreographic perspectives with Amrita’s choreographers on the works in progress created. Last but not least, Ratana, current President of FUSSAC and an art aficionado, moderates the post showcase discussion between the artists and the audience.
Photo by Chih-Yu Lin.
Phon Sopheap studied Lakhaon Kaol and completed his training in 2000 and has since toured internationally as a classical dancer. With a strong interest in contemporary dance, Sopheap joined numerous regional dance workshops including the Young Choreographer’s Workshop in Surabaya in July 2006 as an Asian Cultural Council recipient where he created his first contemporary solo work entitled A Monkey’s Mask. Since then, Sopheap has toured internationally in works by Emmanuèle Phuon, Peter Chin and Arco Renz among others.
He is now part of Amrita’s artistic leadership team. His work Monkey’s Mask II will be showcased as part of Amrita’s 5th Contemporary Dance Platform and is the next episode of his first contemporary solo work entitled A Monkey’s Mask, created in 2006 at the Young Choreographer’s Workshop in Surabayaas.