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Culture and Traditional [ Dance ]

The Realm of Traditional Khmer dramatic performance is large and varied, consisting of more than twenty different forms. The histories and origins of these distinctive Khmer dramas are known from depictions of bas-reliefs on temple walls, or because they have been passed on from generation to generation by memory, or word of mouth.

Some forms of drama were created before Angkor period. Lakhaon khaol is among the oldest and most sacred of Cambodian performance disciplines demonstrating the social and religious links between drama forms and Cambodian Theravada Buddhism. Others appeared in the post Angkor period such as the Loung Veak, Udong and Chaktomuk periods, with popular forms of musical drama composed of stories and mythical subjects. Each type of theater is distinctive, using music and themes drawn from the specific repertoire of the ensemble that accompanies it, such as the mahori theater, Ken Theater, etc.

In the 20th century more modem forms of musical folk drama, such as lakhaon niyei flourished in both drama and music repertoire.

After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, various surviving artists joined forces in 1979 to re-open the Royal University of Fine Arts with the primary objective to revive and preserve what was left of a devastated performing arts heritage. Music and dance were prioritized but by the mid 1960's, and again in the 1980's, many theater forms were firmly re-established as a vital component of Cambodian performing arts with theater troupes formed in Phnom Penh at the Royal University of Fine Arts (RCFA) and the National Theater. It is through this long history with a hybrid of influences that Cambodia's dramatic forms have developed and adopted into a highly refined Cambodian aesthetic.

  1. Lakhaon Khaol (Male Masked Theatre)
  2. Lakhaon Poul Srei (Female Masked Theatre)
  3. Lakhaon Sbaek Thom(Large Shadow Theatre)
  4. Lakhaon Sbaek Touch (Small Shadow Theatre)
  5. Lakhaon Sbaek Por (Color Leather Theatre)
  6. Lakhaon aerk Bat (Berk Bat Theatre)
  7. Nitean Roeurng (Story-Tale)
  8. Chapei
  9. Chamreang Kse Diev (Kse Diev Song)
  10. Lakhaon Mohori (Mohori Theatre)
  11. Lakhaon Yike (Yike Theatre)
  12. Lakhaon Komnap (Theatre of Poetry)
  13. Lakhaon Pleng Kar (Wedding Theatre)
  14. Lakhaon Bassac (Bassac Theatre)
  15. Lakhaon Ape (Ape Theatre)
  16. Ayai Roeurng (Ayai Theatre)
  17. Lakhaon Niyeay (Modern Spoken Theatre)
  18. Lakhaon Chamros (Mixed Theatre)
Folk Dance & Popular Dance Robam Prapeini /Robam Pracheaprei

Traditional Folk Dance Refers to all kinds of dances that are passed on from one generation to another and that are often linked to an ethnic group's traditional' ceremonies. In Cambodia, traditional dances mostly involve animism and express beliefs in the superČnatural. When people have problems thought to have been caused by superČnatural or spirits, they offer lively dances to appease them.
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