Last month, our Big Top hosted an array of short showcases thoroughly prepared by our younger performing arts students and their leisure class teachers. A unique opportunity for them to gain valuable stage experience and showcase their talent.
Among the acts was the aerial silks showcase created and taught by our young Canadian volunteers Hannah and Adrian, both 18 years old and brave enough set off on an adventure with our Cambodian circus family. Followed by a showcase featuring the latest dance moves of our hip hop teens, also trained by two volunteer teachers coming from a Vietnamese NGO in Hanoi.
The show was topped off with a great surprise: The Monkey Dance, showcased by our group of little male dancers and their teacher Seyla. While Cambodia is most renowned for its Apsara dance, but it is actually only one of Cambodia’s many classical dances, usually performed by females. Other dances are based on fragments of the “Ramayana”, an ancient Indian epic recounting a tremendous number of stories of legendary battles and mythical sagas. The Ramayana can be found depicted on the bas relief carved on the walls of Angkor Wat.
Many of its dances and dramas include the Monkey Dance, which can only be performed by males. The actors put on masks that resemble monkeys and perform very specific moves and routines. We saw our little students jumping around, crawling, scratching themselves and mimicking the moves of extremely mischievous monkeys. They were surrounding the prince or male divine who appeared graceful and strong, and was played by their teacher himself!
Congratulations to all the performers for this moment of folklore, techniques and pure magic!