News: Back from the edge

Monday 26 March 2007

Cambodia’s 1,000 year long dance tradition was almost wiped out in the 1970’s under Pol Pot. Twenty five years later a revival is underway – and performances of Weyreaps Battle at the Barbican next weekend give a rare insight…

‘After the regime fell, the government launched a nationwide radio campaign to unearth surviving masters of the Kaol. The library of thousands of gestures was pieced together, like fragments of shattered earthenware. Even so, only a handful of the original companies were re-established, and these only on an ad hoc basis to perform for weddings and funerals.’ Read more in the Guardian, 26 Mar 07

‘In 1997 Fred Frumberg quit his job as an opera director in California and travelled to Cambodia as a UN volunteer to help to rebuild the devastated arts scene in Phnom Penh…. “There was nothing documented,” he says. “So many people were dead. We had to go to the provinces and find the elder dance masters, bring them to Phnom Penh to help us with their memories.” ‘ Read more in the Times, 26 Mar 07

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