On the first day of the Khmer New Year, Cambodians across the Kingdom are quick to turn on their TV sets when Television Kampuchea (TVK) broadcasts the live selection for the year’s new Angel.
This year, the Angel is traditional Khmer dancer Sang Phorsda – who has been selected and looks forward to her debut as the upcoming Angel.
“About a month ago, TVK contacted my school to find an actress for the New Year show, and I was selected because of recommendations from my teachers,” 23-year-old Phorsda says.
“I was very proud and excited to be the new Angel because this might be the biggest thing to happen in my life, and I’ll always be known as an Angel.”
This is certainly not Phorsda’s first time taking the spotlight.
“I’ve been the star actress in two Khmer movies, Banana Tree Ghost and Blue Betel Nut Evil,” she said.
As she showed her Angel photos, Phorsda explained that acting the part was no easy task – even with her experience.
Acting as an Angel, she said, doesn’t come naturally – so it’s a matter of believing the part.
“I take it seriously – I told myself that I’m an Angel, and that I’m no longer a human – in order to be good at acting the part.”
Phorsda is skilled in performance art across the board, including traditional singing and opera.
“I’d loved dancing since I was young, so my father sent me to school for it in 1998,” she said.
Phorsda’s talent has brought her to twelve different countries from Asia to Europe.
“I know that I’m not the best dancer at my school,” she said. “But my teachers gave me this opportunity because I’m the most hard-working.”
Regardless of the few opportunities available for traditional dancers, Phorsda persevered and never questioned her passion for the art.
“Some people might not value dancers because they don’t earn much, but I remind myself of my importance to Cambodia’s cultural preservation,” she reflected.
As she plans for her future, Phorsda wants to continue the art of traditional dancing by becoming a teacher and spreading her skills to the upcoming generation of students.
“Traditional dancing is a means for expressing our identity as Cambodians to the world,” she said.