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Come one, come all! The circus is in town

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Students from the Secondary School of Fine Art’s circus and acrobatics program will perform at the Circus Centre in Phnom Penh on Saturday. photos courtesy of the Secondary School of Fine arts

Come one, come all! The circus is in town

Because of the decreasing number of students enrolling in its circus program, as well as dwindling crowds, the Secondary School of Fine Arts (SSFA) has decided to host more acrobatic and circus performances to spark a renewed interest in the craft.

Located in front of the National Assembly, the Circus Centre seats about 1,000. There have been a lot of empty seats of late, but the SSFA hopes the presence of its hard-working and talented students will bring in the crowds at 9am on Saturday as it gives a free public performance.

Phok Narin, SSFA director and the show’s artistic director, said the hour-long performance will feature students of various ages. “In total, we have about 17 performers who take part in 10 different routines, “ she says.

Narin says she hopes the free acrobatic performances will boost public interest and increase enrollment.

“Our purpose is to promote a type of Khmer art and culture that not many of the younger generation have seen or known.

“Moreover, as our school has fewer students to pursue the acrobatic and circus fields, we also want to put on a performance that will help spark interest,” Narin said.

She says that other cultural activities have supplanted circuses as a form of entertainment. And as attendances have dried up, so has the applause, leading to a lack of motivation from her students.

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Part of the decline in attendance, she says, is that there doesn’t seem to be an awareness that the circus is a traditional Cambodian art form.

“Some people aren’t aware of this at all. They ask: ‘Does Cambodia really have an acrobatic tradition of our own?’ And the younger generation especially prefers K-Pop,” Narin says.

“I can assure you that acrobatics and circus performances really are part of Khmer culture. We have evidence as seen on stone carvings at the Bayon Temple.”

Want to support SSFA’s young artists? Come to the Circus Centre across from the National Assembly at 9am on Saturday.

Entrance is free. For more information call 093832552 and 016811576.

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