Robam Tep Apsara (Cambodia) : The unique Khmer classical dance in Southeast Asia

14-05-2019

(Aseanrecords.world) Robam Tep Apsara is the title of a Khmer classical dance created by the Royal Ballet of Cambodia in the mid-20th century under the patronage of Queen Sisowath Kossamak. The Apsara is played by a woman, sewn into tight-fitting traditional dress, whose graceful, sinuous gestures are codified to narrate classical myths or religious stories.

In 1940s, Queen Sisowath Kossomak Nearirath Serey Vatthana, the wife of King Norodom Suramarit, was sent an invitation to visit the Sothearath primary school. While there she saw the school mistress prepare an inspirational angkor apsara dance performed by young school children in the paper apsara costume including Crown, Sampot and Flower, all referencing Apsara represented at Angkor Wat. The Queen got the idea to re-create the dance, which led her first granddaughter, Princess Norodom Buppha Devi, a daughter of Norodom Sihanouk, to become the first professional apsara dancer of the modern era. The Princess started practicing the dance at 5 years old and danced apsara for first time during King Norodom Sihanouk's tenure.

In 1967, the fine–boned young princess, clad in silk and glittering jewels, performed beneath the stars on the open pavilion within the palace walls, accompanied by the royal dance troupe and the pinpeat orchestra. Selected by her grandmother, Queen Sisowath Kossomak, to become a dancer when she was only a baby. She toured the world as the principal dancer of the apsara role.

The costumes of the apsara role is based on the devatas as depicted on bas-relief of Angkor Wat. They wear a sampot sarabap, a type of silk brocade that is intricately pleated in the front.

According to wikipedia

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