A young lady with big eyes, long hair, red lips and a nice smile, moves graciously on the stage dressed in Khmer Apsara clothes.
At the age of 26, Sin Sakada, the third daughter of 4 children in a business family in Phnom Penh, has worked hard to become the lead Apsara dancer and teacher at the Secondary School of Fine Arts.
“When I was a kid, I was not interested in dancing so much – I preferred modern music. Sometimes when I was sleeping I dreamed of playing piano. But my mother loves dance and she asked me to study it as my major.”
In grade four, she was sent to study dancing at the Secondary School of Fine Arts and day by day her feelings changed. She grew to love the sport.
“At first, I had never thought of studying dance, but then I found that I loved it, and whenever I danced I felt that I was beautiful.”
After she graduated, she spent nine years training before she was selected to be the lead Apsara Dancer by Princess Norodom Buppha Devi, the first lead Apsara Dancer in Cambodia. It was the year that the President of Vietnam visited Cambodia.
Among the 10 classical dancing students from the University, only Sakada was selected to be the main Apsara who was in charge of the show for the Cambodian King and Vietnamese delegation.
Afterwards, Sakada got many chances to perform in national and international events. She had shows in countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Brunei, Italy and France.
Sakada was also employed to teach dance at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.
As a result, she was so busy that she missed the entrance exam to continue studying dance at the Royal University of Fine Arts, and went to Build Bright University to study management instead.
“I chose to be a teacher because I want to share my knowledge and experience and teach the next Cambodian generation the skills needed to maintain and improve our beautiful dance form.”
It’s not always easy to be both a teacher and a dancer, she said.
“Every time before I have a show, I have to transform myself into an Apsara, not Sakada anymore. But teaching is much more difficult because each student has his or her individual talents and behavior. It requires me to be very patient.”
Despite all her achievements in the arts, however, Sakada aspires to run her own business in the future.