The Revival Of Cambodian Classical Dance After 1979
THE REVIVAL OF CAMBODIAN CLASSICAL DANCE AFTER 1979
Author: Ms. Hun Pen
Thesis Advisor: Assistant Professor Dr. Theera Nuchpiam
MA in Southeast Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, 2008
CAMBODIA / CLASSICAL DANCE / REVIVAL / KHMER ROUGE / PERFORMING ARTS / GLOBALIZATION / CIVILIZATION / NATIONAL IDENTITY / CULTURE / PRESERVATION / COMMODIFICATION
The Revival of Cambodian Classical Dance After 1979 explores the evolution of classical dance dating from the first century to the present day, with an emphasis on the post-Khmer Rouge period. The essential objective of this research is to clarify the actors, forces, and events that shaped the reconstruction of classical dance after its demise during the 1975 – 1979period. In tracing the socio-cultural, historical, and political roots of this art form, the thesis has a two-fold objective: to study the nature of the revival in the modern day period and to examine some of the contemporary challenges facing classical dance. Using qualitative methods of direct interviews of dancers from the Khmer Rouge period, as well as a review of cultural documents and media, the author finds that this revival was due to the support of a wide variety of stakeholders. The most important of these has been the dancers themselves, who have contributed their energies and creative memories to the restitution of the original dance forms. Of secondary importance are the ruling elites who throughout Cambodian history have taken an interest in preserving or restoring classical dance. Having been resurrected with the power of human and institutional resources, however, Cambodian classical dance is facing another challenge today. Classical dance has in the past decade experienced a commodification which is a direct result of an increase in international tourism and other pressures of globalization. The impact of globalization on the utility, form, and function of classical dance represents the next challenge facing the Khmer people as they struggle to preserve this important part of their national identity.
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