White Chalk Horse—New Offerings in Cambodian Dance Ritual
Friday, January 20th, 2012
The Sweat Spot, Los Angeles
Robam Tiyae is one of the most sacred works in the Cambodian classical dance canon. Here, I perform it during a reinterpretation of the sompeah kru ceremony on January 20, 2012. It was the night of my 25th birthday as well as the one-year anniversary of my father's passing.
I have changed the costuming, using Angkorian style regalia and revealing my body. This is significant as—when performing before the altar and the venerated objects upon it—I am addressing my lineage and history with my experience and being as a gay man, as a Cambodian American, and as a new carrier of the tradition.
Titled White Chalk Horse—New Offerings in Cambodian Dance Ritual, the event was a truly historical event. It was the first sompeah kru to involve dance offerings by artists outside of the Cambodian dance tradition. Furthermore, the audience was primarily non-Cambodian so it was a beautiful challenge to weave their participation into the social gesture of ritual.
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