Thunder and Lightning

Today, my friends and I got the last tickets for an ancient dance entitled “Thunder and Lightning” by the Sophiline Arts Ensemble. Basically, it depicts the myth of “Ream Eyso & Moni Mekhala”. Needless to say I fell in love with the graceful movements of the dancers. Each and every one of them moved so fluidly as a result of long hours of rehearsing I assume. This begs the question, just why haven’t I learned to appreciate Khmer ancient dances? Growing up, like most kids, (the fact that almost half of the audience today were foreigners supported this point), Khmer ancient dances are just a far-fetched fantasy land of some sort. It was never “there”, so to speak. I have never been to a dance before. I think it’s because of the lack of exposure. Anything worth-while can be loved by all if it is exposed to the public enough (that is the basis of marketing). Take the case of Sean Seavmey for example. The main reason for the lack of exposure, I suspect, is the lack of funding. This brings me back to the time when art is promoted and properly funded with prestige by the late king Norodom Sihanoulk. Artists were rich, famous, loved, and most importantly, given pride. I mean, for god’s sake, the late king himself has starred in as well as directed several movies. However, now, artists have to make-do all by themselves. They have to seek fund, promote, and perform all by themselves. I mean… can you imagine how hard it is in a country where art is not widely appreciated and generally regarded as a waste of money and time? At the end of the show, I figured that if the leaders ain’t gonna support them, only the fans remain. For me (and a whole lot of others out there), art is what gives meaning to life. I do not want this art to be lost which will deprive the future generations from being inspired. So to Cambodian youths, I urge you, stop wasting your time and money on Chattime or Koi and actually go support Khmer arts. If you keep an open mind while observing any art, you will find meanings that you would not have found anywhere else otherwise, I can assure you.
Mrs. Sophiline Cheam Shapiro said there would be another ancient dance four months from now. Set your eyes out for those fliers and get your money ready.

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