Search form

A day in the life of a dancer

A day in the life of a dancer

ALTHOUGH lots of people, especially teenagers, are dismissive about their own culture and prefer to keep abreast of cultural trends from other countries, 19-year-old Khat Sophanny has chosen traditional dance as her career.

In contrast to other young Cambodians, her world revolves around studying, teaching and performing traditional Khmer dance.

Arriving at a birthday-party tent at 5pm, I went straight to talk to Khat Sophanny. I saw Phanny and members of her musical group having a meal at a circular table. After she had satisfied her hunger, she shared some make-up secrets.

“As a dancer and also a singer, I have to know how to use  make-up,” she said.

By then, it was 5:30pm and Khat Sophanny’s work was about to begin. Standing on the stage, this elegant young woman looked really cool.

I couldn’t help  staring at her movements and listening to her bird-like voice.

After Khat Sophanny had finished each song,  I asked her a few questions and let her share some of her experiences.

“I began to love, and perform, traditional dances when I was six years old,” she said. ”I was blamed by my mother and others for learning such a skill, because most people believe that being a dancer or singer is bad work for a person.”

Khat Sophanny joked that she needed to hide from her mother to learn dancing. At the same time, she had to help her mother with housework.

At the age of 17, Khat Sophanny began earning money from dancing because she could dance in public with an organisation she did volunteer work for. She jokes that now she is earning some money and can help her family, she can easily change her mother’s mind about dancing.

Khat Sophanny told me she was not only helping her family but also helping Cambodia to show off its brilliant culture by being given the chance to go to Vietnam to perform Khmer traditional dance and sing Khmer traditional songs.

“I won’t give up Khmer traditional dance, even though recently I’ve been singing more than dancing. I will promote Khmer traditional dance as much as I can,” she said.

“My fiancé and I are also going to start a small business by creating a group of musicians.”

I suddenly noticed that the time  was 8:15pm. Even with interruptions, it had been a fascinating conversation with a gifted performer, and it had given me a lot of insight into the difficulties a dancer can experience before he or she achieves  success.។​


  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • 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