@UNESCO/Chanthul Suos - Photographs of the Royal Ballet Dancers Taken by George Groslier in 1927

Royal Ballet

Safeguarding, Preserving, and Revitalizing the Royal Ballet of Cambodia  

With the support of the Japanese Funds-in-Trust, activities aiming to safeguard, preserve and revitalize the Royal Ballet of Cambodia were implemented by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts in collaboration with the UNESCO Office in Phnom Penh:

Training on Research Methodology and Project Management: A three-week training was organized to teach participants about research methodology and project management skills.

Research and Inventory of the Royal Ballet: In close collaboration with artists and representatives of the Provincial Departments of Culture and Fine Arts, the researchers collected surviving documents including photographs, interviews and documented knowledge of principle masters of the Royal Ballet tradition throughout Cambodia. The focus was on performing arts, traditional oral literature, traditional costumes and traditional practices. The book of the inventory of masters and practitioners was published in Khmer and English, and the research results were also put on a DVD.

The book and DVD contain the following points: Brief history and presentation, name of each form, revival history, major stories in the repertory, and the names of major masters and practitioners.

Training for Current Dancers to Become Teachers: The training session of Royal Ballet for dancers from the Department and the Faculty of Choreographic Arts was organized. Twenty-four dancers became masters and each of them received a training certificate.

Training for Provincial and Private Troupes: Eight masters of the component B1 trained few hundred artists from 19 private troupes in the iem Reap province.

Revitalization of ‘Lost’ Choreographies: The research on the two ‘lost’ choreographies were implemented: Preah Samuth and Vong Sovann Chann Savat. Documentation on the performance history, dance, music and costumes were made and rehearsals of these two stories were organized. Costumes and accessories for the performance of these two stories were also produced.

Production of Musical Instruments: Ten Pin Peat musical instruments were produced and delivered to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. The ten instruments included Roneath Ek (high-pitched xylophone), Roneath Thung (low-pitched xylophone), Roneath Dek (metallophone), Koang Touch (small gong), Koang Thom (Large gong), Sra Lay (Large and small oboe), Skor Samphor (double-head drum), Skor Thom (large two-piece drum), Chhing (small cymbals), Krab (small bamboo clappers).

Organizing the Annual Royal Ballet Performance: Posters and leaflets were produced and distributed to national and international institutions  in order to promote the performance of Preah Samuth and Vong Sovann Chann Savat stories. The annual performance for these two new stories were held in December 2008. The performances were joined by artists from the Department of Performing Arts and students from the Faculty of Choreography.

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