The Apsara dance is an essential part of the Cambodian culture and has its origin in the 7th century. Who does not know the reliefs of the dancing women in the temples of Angkor.
The roots of the Apsara dance lie in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Under King Jayavarman VII, there were over three thousand Apsara dancers. The dances were performed exclusively for the king and taught only at the royal court. In the 15th century, Angkor was sacked by the Thais, who took a group of dancers back home. Under the reign of terror of the Khmer Rouge, the Apsara dance was almost wiped out.
Princess Boppha Devi, the solo dancer of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia revived the dances. To this end, the reliefs in the temples were of great help.
The Apsara dance tells stories from everyday life and nature, as well as from the Mythology of Cambodia. Hereby, the hand gestures play an important role.
Every gesture has its own symbolism and the sequence support the narrative. The dancers wear handmade silk dresses, which style has remained unchanged for the last centuries.
Only in 1995, 16 years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, a public performance of the Apsara dance took place in Angkor. The dance was brought to perfection by the Royal Ballet of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. On festive occasions, their performances can also be seen in Angkor.
In 2003, UNESCO has declared the Apsara Dance a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
4K UHD video -> Traditional Khmer Dance in Koulen Restaurant
Various restaurants and hotels in Siem Reap offer daily different traditional Khmer dance shows in connection with a dinner.
We visit a
Dance show in the Koulen restaurant
The Koulen is one of the best known and largest restaurants in Siem Reap. From 18.30 excellent Cambodian food is served on a gigantic Buffet.
The dance show with Apsara dances and traditional Cambodian folk dances starts around 19:30 and lasts about 1 hour.
No Cambodia visit is complete without having seen the Apsara dance.
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