Contemporary Dance Platform

Emerging Cambodian choreographers share their new works in progress

Friday May 9, 2014

Venue: Department of Performing Arts


Khen Vanthy

Choreographer Khen Vanthy
Dancers Chek Sangthorn, Chy Lina, Hou Cheychanrith, Kao Sithy Nita, Nat Bunrath, Yon Chantha
Musician Ros Sokunthea
Costume Designer Vong Vannak

NOTE FROM THE CHOREOGRAPHER: "Complicated" is a word that sounds unusual because we use it when things go wrong and are hard to understand. However, it is usual because we live with complexity around us every time and day. Life is full of problems. Problems come from the complicatedness. I think if we are less complicated, we have less problems. This piece is about love, life, and change around us as human beings.


Chek Sangthorn (Dancer) has studied Lakhaon Kaol (Cambodian classical male masked dance) at the Secondary School of Fine Arts since 2005. His first public performance was in 2006 on CTN and since then he has performed in Takeo, Siem Reap and at venues in Phnom Penh including Nagaworld. He has also danced with Amrita dancer Nget Rady, performing a hybrid of contemporary and classical dance.

Chy Lina (Dancer) started training in Khmer classical dance in 2002 at the Secondary School of Fine Arts, graduating in 2011. During the course of her studies Lina performed extensively in both classical and contemporary works. She was one of Amrita's dancers in numerous contemporary dance workshops with international collaborators including Arco Renz, Eko Supriyanto and Cynthia Ling Lee and with Cambodian choreographers Chumvan Sodhachivy (Belle) and Nam Narim.‌ She has performed Para Human by Eko Supriyanto at the National Museum of Singapore in 2012 and The Shoes by Nam Narim in Taiwan in 2013.

Hou Cheychanrith (Dancer), studied Cambodian Folk Dance in 2001 at the Secondary School of Fine Arts and completed his training in 2011. He has been a dancer in Cambodia Living Arts' Children of Bassac since 2010 and has participated in Amrita Performing Arts' dance workshops with Eko Supriyanto, Paea Leach and Arco Renz. Chanrith is also a classical singer.

Kao Sithy Nita (Dancer) finished her classical dance training in the female role from the Secondary School of Fine Arts in 2011 after nine years study. She has performed extensively in classical works and has shown her interest and commitment in contemporary dance. She has worked with Eko Supriyanto, Arco Renz, Cynthia Ling Lee, Chumvan Sodhachivy (Belle) and Nam Narim. She has performed Para Human by Eko Supriyanto at the National Museum of Singapore in 2012 and The Shoes by Nam Narim in Taiwan in 2013.

Nat Bunrath (Dancer) started learning Cambodian folk dance in 2004 with Cambodian Children's Fund (CCF). He was also trained in the Giant role at CCF's art training program. He has created works and performed in dance and theater projects of CCF in Phnom Penh. Bunrath is currently in his first year at the Royal University of Agriculture studying Animal Science.

Yon Chantha (Dancer) began her training in classical dance in 1993. Chantha has a strong interest in contemporary dance and has been involved with workshops and performances with Arco Renz, Cynthia Ling Lee, Chumvan Sodhachivy and Nam Narim. She has also performed extensively with the Sovanna Phum Khmer Association, an independent dance and puppetry theater in Phnom Penh, where she was given numerous opportunities to participate in contemporary dance workshops. Chantha is also an artist of the Department of Performing Arts in Phnom Penh.

Amrita Performing Arts Team
Executive Director Kang Rithisal
Associate Director Hannah Stevens
Production Coordinator Hourt Bunny
Comms Manager Claire Wilcock
Production Assistant Chen Borey
Finance Officer Mech Keom Eang
Administrator Lim Chanboramy

Founded in October 2013, the Contemporary Dance Platform is a new phase for Amrita Performing Arts in nurturing and furthering Cambodian' choreographic development. Following the momentum ofyears of artistic collaborations with international choreographers and directors, Cambodian choreographers are tapping into their new found skills and their classical training in theof new works, as they continue to develop their own Cambodian contemporary dance vocabulary.

The Contemporary Dance Platform focuses on the creative processes that choreographers and dancers participate in. Three choreographers were given resources to work for five weeks with a selection of artists of their choice. Musicians, costume designers and makers were invited by the choreographers to join this process, demonstrating their open-mindedness and willingness to experiment and collaborate. Through dialogue and support they were able to explore ideas and movements in their works. This journey allows us to build not only emerging choreographers but also other related arts practitioners.

Well-established choreographers, producers, and scholars from Cambodia and the region, who have worked with Amrita and the artists in the past and possess insightful perspectives of the performing arts, are invited to join the Platform and participate in the feedback session after the performance. This allows a critical and nurturing discourse between the artists, their peers and local expertise at the session.

This Platform is special because it is the first time a majority of these choreographers have created their own work. These works in progress, Brothers, Complicated, and Religion, will be showcased tonight. The enriching artistic experience gained through this process and the progress these choreographers have made in this journey is extraordinary and a great contribution to building artistic leadership for Cambodia's bourgeoning arts scene.

Amrita Performing Arts is an International NGO based in Phnom Penh, with US nonprofit status. Amrita is committed to the creation of Cambodian contemporary dance and theater, responding to the creative drive of a young generation of artists who have taken on the task of ushering Cambodia's ancient performing arts heritage into the future. Our work is developed through workshops based on intensive exchange and dialogue with international collaborators. All of our efforts emphasize capacity building as we assist in nurturing a new generation of Cambodian choreographers, directors and practitioners in all areas of arts management.


We would like to thank H.E. Phoeurng Sackona, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts for her support of our work at Amrita. We would also like to thank the following people who have contributed time and energy to this Platform: Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, Founder and Artistic Director of Sophiline Arts Ensemble (Cambodia); Peter Chin, Artistic Director of Tribal Crackling Wind (Canada); Neo Kim Seng, Independent producer/director (Singapore); Peter Wilson, Independent theater director (Australia) and Marion D'Cruz, Professor from National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (ASWARA) (Malaysia). Many thanks also go to Fred Frumberg, Chumvan Sodhachivy, Nou Sandab, Nam Narim, Anders Jiras, Khmer Arts, Tiny Toones, Java Arts and Gallery, and all those who continue to support us.