Everyone here at Amrita was so proud yesterday when our Chairman Fred Frumberg, Executive Director Kang Rithisal and ex-Country Director Suon Bun Rith received royal decoration in the Order of Muni Isvarabarna (or Monisaraphon) in the class of Askararidha-Assarith (Knight) at the Royal Palace to acknowledge the work they have done for the arts in Cambodia.
The whole experience was very special, made even more memorable by being surrounded by friends, colleagues, past collaborators and masters who also received the award.
Among the masters receiving the award were Penh Yom, a dance master of the giant role in Cambodian classical dance. She has performed and taught this dance all her life. Yit Sarin is a dance master of Lakhaon Kaol. He was handpicked by Queen Kossomak in the 1960s to be the first male dancer when she made the national decision to replace the usually-female dancers for the role of male dancer with actual male dancers. He is very old but still teaching dance in his hometown.
Amrita is a contemporary dance company but the contemporary initiatives of the new generation of dancers we are nurturing is greatly inspired by what many masters, such as these two, have transferred.
The three men of Amrita Performing Arts were honored to be recognized. It was a lovely moment – of acknowledgement, nostalgia, and encouragement – after many years of work.