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Dance Appeal Raises $7,000

Dance Appeal Raises $7,000

More than US$7,000 has been raised so far by Telstra OTC Australia to support the

National Dance Theatre and the Fine Arts Dance School. The fundraising campaign,

which was kicked off on June 18 at a premier showing of the film "The Tenth

Dancer," has engendered two major donations

of U.S. $1,300 and U.S. $500 from the Australian Permanent Mission and Samart Communications

respectively. More than 30 other individuals and institutions have made donations

to the Telstra-led funds appeal.

Telstra, for its part, contributed U.S. $4,000. The results of the campaign were

announced by Mara Moustafine, Telstra's representative for Cambodia, at a ceremony

at the Fine Arts Dance School on Jul. 9.

"We are delighted that our appeal has already met with a generous public response,"

Moustafine said. "At our reception, we collected U.S. $3,000 and more donations

are still expected."

Moustafine informed the school's administrators and students that the funds would

be divided equally between the Dance School and National Theatre. It is expected

that the funds will be used for the purchase of traditional costumes and headdresses,

some of which may cost up to $1,700

each. It is now up to each institution to submit a proposal to Telstra requesting

the funds with a specific outline of how the money will be used.

The Dance School currently has 280 students ranging in age from 8 to 20. The institution

and Khmer classical dance in general were devastated during the Pol Pot regime when

it is estimated that one in ten of the dancers lost their lives.

Telstra, as an integral part of its corporate philosophy, has chosen the restoration

of Khmer classical dance as a cause that it wants to actively promote.

"We're not just about telecommunications," Moustafine said. "Culture

is an on-going concern of ours and this year, on the inspirtation of my boss, John

Malcolm, we decided to focus on the Khmer dancers."

Moustafine encourages others interested in the restoration of the two institutes

to contact her at the Telstra office for further information.

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