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From CambodiaFolk and classical dance never before seen outside its homeland
Every year the WOMAD bill mixes established festival favourites with the new and unfamiliar. The Children of Khmer are very much in the latter category. Not only are they WOMAD debutantes but their Cambodian dancing has never before been seen outside their own homeland. Led and trained by Ieng Sithul, who heads the Cambodian Arts Association in Phnom Penn, the Children Of Khmer are part of the Tonale Bassac Folk Dance group, formed five years ago to keep alive the traditional music and dance of Cambodia, which was almost completely destroyed by the Khmer Rouge. The origins of the graceful Aspara dance which the group will perform can be traced back to the royal court in the temples of Angkor Watt in the 11th century but, alongside such classical forms, their repertoire also includes enchanting Khmer folk dances. After making their international debut at Charlton Park, the troupe will head north for a residency at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Biog by Nigel Williamson