Apsara Khmer-A Divine Dance Of Cambodia

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Undoubtedly the art of dancing seems to be one of the major forms of art followed with great enthusiasm in Cambodia. This great dancing art has been in practice with great zeal and divinity in this culture-rich Cambodia. An attempt has been made in this short article to describe the famous Apsara Khmer which is known to be a divine dance for the people of this great country. This short message will surely help the global tourists in knowing about this divine –dance, which is a trade mark identity of Cambodia in these modern times.

Apsara Khmer:
The term Apsara simply means ‘nymph’ when translated in English. They are known to be the supernatural beings with a tint of angelic beauty and elegance who perform the art of dancing in tune with the music made by their husbands who are called as ‘Gandharvas’ as per the Cambodian legends. This dance is primarily practiced in order to please the Gods as well as the martyrs of the nation. Also known as Khmer this classical dance has the root from Cambodian history as these dances were performed in the courts of royal places by the married couples and relatives in the special places . As per the belief these Apsaras were sent to the Earth by the God Indra to seduce Ascetics who are considered to be dreadfully powerful. These themes and beliefs have come from the traditions of Java and Indonesia of the reign King Airlangga in 1030BC.
In the present times there are three different types of dances practiced in Cambodia. The popular classical dance seems to be the main dance of the three different dancing styles and the other two are the folk and vernacular dances. These classical dances were the ones that were practiced in the courts of the royals, where as the vernacular dances are being practiced in social gatherings or in public events.

Types of dances:
Cambodian classical dance: Known to be classical and also named as Khmer royal ballet is generally performed in the royal courts. This is purposely done to express the royalty and this unique dance has many parts namely Apsara Dance, Tep Monorom, Robam Thvay Preah Por, Robam Moni Mekhala, Robam Makar, Robam Sovann Maccha, etc. Each of these dances vary in their styles and in general do not have any major difference as all are termed to be classical in nature.
Folk dance: In general this type of dance is performed on front of large audience for the purpose of entertainment as well as excitement. The dancers wear various types of dresses like farmers, peasants. They dances have their own names like Trot Dance, Sneak Toseay Dance, Baboo Pole Dance, Pailin Peacock Dance, Yike Dance, Chhayam dance, etc.
Vernacular dance: This type is generally performed in social events and has many types such as Ram Vong, Ram Kbach, Ram Saravan, Iam Leav, etc. It is believed these local dances have the influences of the traditional dances of Laos.
Cambodia is reputed for the classical dance Apsara Khmer which is globally popular in attracting innumerable tourists who love this classical art of dancing.

apsara-dancer-1

Image credit: shankar s.

apsara-dancer

Image credit: shankar s.

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