“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.
Near the Khmer temple of Banteay Srey at Angkor, “sacred dancers” study the ancient ritual art of Cambodian dance at NKFC’s school.
Roland Meyer arrived in French Indochina in 1907 to write his historical epic, Saramani Khmer Dancer, about a Cambodian romance.
A wartime twist of fate made Paul Cravath one of the only Westerners in history to gain full access to the formerly sequestered troupe of the Royal Cambodian Ballet.
Western studies of Cambodian dance were based on very few viewings. Cravath’s 1985 doctoral dissertation, Earth in Flower, blew the field open. Earth in Flower book review by Theater Research International
Earth in Flower book review in Asian Theater Journal. The book is a treasure trove. It includes more than 180 photographs, drawings, and paintings; listings of early and mid twentieth century Royal Palace performance programs
On seeing “Earth in Flower” Paul Cravath is thrilled, cover to cover. “I wrote it as my doctoral dissertation at the University of Hawaii…
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
Published in May 2008, Earth in Flower: The Divine Mystery of the Cambodian Dance Drama has received two literary awards. Paul Cravath preserves royal Khmer dance tradition in “Earth in Flower”. Luther College scholar Paul Cravath preserves Cambodian dance history