Apsara Dance

The apsara dance or the royal ballet of Cambodia is a form of performing arts established in the royal courts of Cambodia. Traditionally it was performed only on special occassions and ceremonies. Like many other forms of art in Cambodia, this traditional dance was almost lost during the repression of the Khmer Rouge. Fortunately it became popular again in 1980s and 1990s. Today when you’re visiting Cambodia you can find dance performances at places in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

After visiting Angkor Wat and Phnom Bakheng, we closed our day with a dinner show arranged by our tour company. We went to a restaurant with a large dining hall with a stage at one end, serving international-style buffet dinner. After most people got their dinners, a dance troupe performed several dance routines on the stage, a combination of classical and folk dances. Kristi and I were seated at a table not far from the stage, so we were able to enjoy the dance performances from a pretty good distance.

The dance performance was quite good, and at the beginning of each routine, a narrator provided us with a little description of the dance routine we’re about to see. Thought personally I’m usually not that interested in watching dance performances, I thought this was a good experience nevertheless since I had never seen it before, and they did very good job performing it. Later on Vanna said that these dancers went through quite rigorous training and selection process, so those who actually made it to the troupe are usually very good.

The photo below was taken during one of the dance routines. I used my 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens, taking the photo from my seat without the flash firing with the camera set with shutter priority at 1/125. It turned out pretty well and I was quite happy with the result.

Apsara dance

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