“Cambodian royal dances, the admirable artistic tradition and all the indigenous past they represent are seriously threatened due to the very evolution of Cambodia and Western progress.” These prophetic words could have been written at any time, but they were actually penned in 1928 by George Groslier, founder and director of the National Museum in Phnom Penh. See dozens of these rare photos, recently revealed by the National Museum of Cambodia.
Despite the war and death raging around him, he was able to spend months documenting and preserving the history of this artform, and has now published his research about Cambodian dance drama in the book, “Earth in Flower.”
After Paul Cravath’s research on the Royal Cambodian Ballet was cut short, following intensive bombing in Cambodia in 1975, his dissertation languished until completion in 1984. Royal Cambodian Dance Presentation by Chatfield Author Paul Cravath
Centuries of knowledge about Cambodia’s traditional dances, which are full of history and legend, were almost buried with the victims in the Khmer Rouge’s mass graves.
Two recently published books on Cambodia’s classical dance reveal aspects of the art that have rarely been addressed in previous works. The Language of Khmer Classical Dance in Cambodia