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Amrita dancers enter uncharted territory

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An dancer from Amrita dance company rehearses for Crack. Photograph: Jean-Luc Tanghe

Although older generations may prefer to preserve traditional dance forms such as the classical Apsara style, and work is being done around the country to preserve cultural traditions that almost disappeared during the Khmer Rouge era, some younger artists are eager to innovate with modern styles, faster moves and foreign influences.

Crack, the latest production by the Phnom Penh-based Amrita dance company, is a display of this mixture of traditional Cambodian dance gestures and the faster-paced moves of foreign styles.

An ensemble of six Cambodian dancers will stage a one-off local performance of the piece at the Department of Performing Arts tomorrow.

“We started this dance two years ago,” says Chumvan Sodachivy, one of the six featured dancers. “We told our foreign director we preferred the title Crack because it shows how the choreography breaks away from our Cambodian dancing style format.

“Of course, it’s a contemporary dance. But you will recognise the Cambodian dance styles if you know Cambodian dances well.”

Crack is directed by German choreographer Arco Renz.

The show has already been touring internationally, with a March performance in Belgium and showings at the Singapore Arts Festival in May and the Indonesian Dance Festival last week.

In August, the troupe will tour the show in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

This Friday will be a unique opportunity to see the show for the first time in its home country.

Tickets are available at the Amrita Performing Arts office or at the theatre entrance for US$2. The show begins at 6:30pm at the Department of Performing Arts, # 173 Sangkat Toul Svay Prey I, Phnom Penh.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roth Meas at roth.meas@phnompenhpost.com

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