Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Swinging time for social dancers

Swinging time for social dancers

Swinging time for social dancers

110303_21a
Learners practise steps in a swing dance class at Amrita Performing Arts Centre.

ABOUT 10 dancers are clustered around the teacher at Amrita Performing Arts Centre, clad in flat shoes and swirly skirts.

They are learning the steps to a dance that grew out of American jazz music in the 1930s – the Lindy Hop.

Part of a group of dances under the loose umbrella of swing, the Lindy Hop requires a partner for maximum effect. Later in the evening, after the dance classes finish, learners can further practise their steps to a live band at Equinox bar and restaurant.

This class is under the leadership of teacher Robyn Zellar, who also goes by the name Mama Swing.

Having learned swing dancing and the Lindy Hop while she was in Beijing in 2005, and began to teach the steps to young teenagers. Arriving in Cambodia in mid 2009, she saw a gap in the market and began teaching others the infectious dance style.

“I love dancing, but at first it was very difficult to find someone else who was good at swing dancing in Cambodia. So I thought that if I wanted to find good dancers, I needed to open a dance club first.”

Teaching on Thursdays at Amrita, Zellar says that about most of her students are female, but she organised a few parties around town to increase the number of male dancers, who seemed a little shy.

“If we compare the traditional dance of Cambodia with swing, Cambodian dance is more serious and gentle because dancers do not need to touch their partner’s hands and legs,” she explained.

“I like swing because I love to dance alone, but the similarity is that dancing can strengthen solidarity, friendship and socialisation,” said Zellar.

Pupil Chhorn Linda, 27, has been practising swing dancing every week, saying she finds the exercise reduces stress and makes her happier.

“Lindy Hop swing and Khmer culture is different because many Khmer people are still very shy. But my family doesn’t mind me learning this dance, for exercise and fun.”

On alternate Sundays, Phnom Penh Swings heads out to Snowy’s Bar across the river for an afternoon of dancing.

The first lesson is free to enable people to find out whether they would enjoy the dancing.

Classes cost $5 for foreigners and $2.50 for Cambodians.

Amrita Performing Arts Centre dance studio is at 22 Street 240, next to the southern end of the Royal Palace. For forther information, visit www.pppswings.com.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all

  • Ex-RFA journos accuse outlet

    Two former Radio Free Asia journalists held a press conference yesterday claiming they are each owed $28,000 by the US-funded radio broadcaster, which shuttered its in-country operations in September amid a government crackdown on independent media. The journalists, Sok Ratha and Ouk Savborey, maintained they organised