Man about town: 01 November 2013

Man about town: 01 November 2013

A world-weary Ravynn Karet-Coxen, who has been touring the US with 34 of her sacred little dancers, flew back into Siem Reap on Sunday morning. Ravynn reports, “The tour went very well and we accomplished our mission with success, bonding and bridging culturally and spiritually American Cambodian to Motherland, but also sharing our culture with the Boston, Washington and Los Angeles Ballet and New York Dance Institute.

“The children touched so many hearts and were feted everywhere. I managed to take all 34 of them to Disneyland to see the new film, Gravity, in 3D. In New York we went to the Natural History Museum and spent time at the planetarium, and in Long Beach at the aquarium.”

Ravynn’s sacred dancers also met dancers from the LA Ballet and dance styles were compared.

Blouin ArtInfo reported on October 23, “East met west last week as the Sacred Dancers of Angkor stopped by an LA Ballet rehearsal to trade steps and exchange technical tips on two distinctly different disciplines. Cambodian dancers sat on the perimeter, while the ballet’s dancers ran through a compelling routine of pas de chats, grand jetes, and assembles. When it was over, the Sacred Dancers took the floor to demonstrate their subtler, earthbound steps in a slow-motion line dance set to gamelan, drum, and bell.

“…Where ballet dancers take to the air, their Cambodian counterparts tend to stay close to the ground, coordinating complicated finger movements with a three-step dance to a two-four beat.
“‘If you don’t have that pulse happening, you don’t really get it right away,’ said LA Ballet dancer Christopher Charles McDaniel, who warily tried a few steps. He, like many of the dancers, saw some similarities in the two styles, such as a variation on fifth position frequently repeated by the Cambodians, as well as a tendency to turn out.

“‘When you send that heel forward you’re automatically turned out,’ McDaniel said. ‘It’s the same thing we’re thinking about when we’re doing a degage or like when I taught them the pas de chat. You have to get the heels forward in order to maintain that rotation’.”

US Relief: On October 23 CNN began a two-week-long airing of a 60-second public service announcement for the Landmine Relief Fund. CNN had been in Siem Reap filming Aki Ra working in the field and with kids at the Landmine Museum Relief Center. Meanwhile, the Landmine Relief Fund also received a grant from the US Department of State for $175,000.

Shinta Mani Foundation Graduation: Hospitality students at the Shinta Mani Foundation, headed by hard-working Chitra Vincent, graduated on Wednesday. Clayton Jedam explains that the graduation is a “nice story.” He says, “Twenty students, eighteen with employment already lined up. The program is heading into its tenth year next year and is a pretty good model.”

AboutAsia awards: Siem Reap travel agency AboutAsia has won Travel + Leisure magazine’s Global Vision Award for Community for 2013. AboutAsia’s ebullient and ultra-philanthropic Andy Booth traveled to New York to collect this award for his team's commitment to ethical travel. Two months ago Condé Nast Traveler added AboutAsia to its World Top Travel Specialists list for the quality of its travel services.

Sniffing things out: Lots of zombie-eyed drugged-out young boys and teeners walking around town and hanging out in the Royal Gardens, sniffing substances from plastic bags not so well hidden behind caps held to their faces.

Correction: Last week Man About said that the new Kaya boutique will be located in front of Shinta Mani hotel. What should have been said is that the new Kaya shop will be in the Cassia Gallery which, incidentally, is over the road from Shinta Mani.


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