Special Exhibition
‘Royal Ballet of Cambodia’
07 March – 20 April 2019
National Museum of Cambodia

About the exhibition
    This photographic exhibition of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia shows examples from Her Royal Princess Buppha Devi's creation of a choreography gathering three periods of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia.

    The first part shows dances from the reign of His Majesty King Sisowath (1840-1927), with two dances "Robam Buong Suong" (wishing dance), a dance to wish the nation happiness and prosperity. Then comes an extract of the Legend of "Preah Chennavong", the story of a prince whose sword is stolen by a King of the Giants.

    The second part brings us to the period of Her Majesty Queen Kossamak (1904-1975). The dancers will perform "The Abduction of Sita".

    The abduction of Preah Neang Seda (Sita) by Krung Reap (Ravana) in the guise of a hermit, is one of the major portions of the Reamker (Ramayana). Krung Reap, King of the Giants, with 10 heads, watches Preach Neang Seda in the forest and falls in love with her. Maricha, the golden deer tempts Preah Ream (Rama) and Preah Leak (Lakshmana) away from Preah Neang Seda. Before Preah Leak leaves, he draws a circle around her with his arrow and tells Preah Neang Seda not to step out of the circle.
    Krung Reap disguises himself as an old hermit and asks Preah Neang Seda to come to him. Preah Neang Seda finally steps out of the circle. The hermit becomes Krung Reap who and catches the princess in his arms and flies to his kingdom Lanka.
    Hanuman is sent by Preah Ream to find Preah Neang Seda. Hanuman shows the ring bearing the name and seal of Preah Ream to her.

    Interwoven is a story of Lakhon Khol, the all male masked dancers,"Lakhon Khol - the Final Battle".
    Preah Ream and Preah Leak are joined by Hanuman and his monkey armies who build a bridge to reach the kingdom of Lanka where Preah Neang Seda is prisoned.
    Preah Ream and Krung Reap, fight each other with magic weapons. Neither Preah Ream nor Krung Reap has the upper hand. Piphek the astrologist must find out Krung Reap’s secret. With his sharp arrows, Preah Ream shoots Krung Reap who dies after taking that strike. Preah Ream can finally reunite with his wife, Preah Neang Seda.

    The third part brings us to the period of His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk (1922–2012), with two dances: "The Apsara Dance" and "Robam Tep Monorom".
    The Ballet of Apsaras has been created by Queen Kossamak in the mid 1960s. Apsaras are characters of the famous Mahabarata epic poem in which they were born from the churning of the sea of milk. Their extraordinary costumes are copied from those of the Angkor bas-reliefs. Since the last decade, the ballet has been revisited by Princess Buppha Devi with new headdresses and costumes.

Robam Tep Monorom
    The ballet is created in the mid-1960s and depicts the gracious gods and goddesses that live in the paradise of the god Indra. It has had such a success that it is usually danced to close a performance to wish people and nation happiness and prosperity.

The Ballet