the Apsara. Its particular unique style is purely Cambodian, the graceful movements of the apsara dancers, adorned with gold headresses and silken tunics and skirts, are carved from on the walls of many of the temples of Angkor Wat. According to Hindu mythology, Apsaras are said to have been born during The Churning of the Ocean of Milk, the act of creation in which gods and demons acquired their immortality.Master Dancers, Mmes Saroeum Tes and Rattana Chhin poses in Court Dance costumes
The older more traditional form has roots in primitive magic, the worship of the spirits of the trees, and other natural things. Many dances involve the depiction of early myths, a popular one is the performance of the Ramayana, a Hindu Epic even longer than the Odyssey. These dances differ from the strict structure of the classical and were meant for the common people. They depict scenes from everyday life such as rice harvesting, fishing and wine making just to name a few. Troupes of dancers travel from village to villages, performing dances as well as plays inspired by folktales. The Nymph and the Giant and the Legend of Cambodia are also popular subjects.
Dance is an important part of any culture and Cambodians have been trying to preserve this expressive art form since most of the perfomers perished during the the Khmer Rouge era 1975-1983. A restoration program is underway both inside the country and abroad to to maintain this old time tradition.