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New step for classic book on dance


Angkor curator Henri Marchal and George Groslier at Ta Prohm in 1910.

THE first English-language edition of George Groslier’s rare book about Cambodian dance will be launched at a ceremony at the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh this Friday, on the 124th anniversary of Groslier’s birth.

The ceremony will be hosted by French Ambassador Christian Connan, as well as Princess Bopha Devi, guardian of Cambodia’s ancient royal dance tradition.

Also in attendance will be Ravynn Karet-Coxen, who acted as cultural advisor in republishing the book, and American publisher and Groslier biographer Kent Davis of DatAsia Press.

The book, titled Cambodian Dancers – Ancient and Modern, has been translated into English from the original French masterpiece Danseuses Cambodgiennes – Anciennes et Modernes.

Only 30 copies of the original were ever produced.

Published in 1913, the book explored Cambodian dance under the guidance of King Sisowath, and most major works exploring Khmer art and culture cite Groslier’s rare work.

Publisher Kent Davis said he worked with Groslier’s daughter Nicole over the past three years to prepare the book, which represented numerous milestones.

“This is the first reprinting of Danseuses Cambodgiennes in any language since 1913, and also the first translation of any of Groslier's works into English,” he said. “But most profound of all, this is the first work by Groslier in a century actually printed in Cambodia by Cambodians.”

The new hardcover edition contains 380 pages and more than 200 illustrations, including all of Groslier’s original artwork from 1913.

George Groslier was the first French child born in Cambodia. He established the National Museum and School of Cambodian Arts and wrote more than 100 works about Khmer art and history.

A public introduction for the book will be celebrated at Monument Books in Phnom Penh on Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm.

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