Contemporary Dance Platform

Emerging Cambodian choreographers share their new works in progress

Friday May 9, 2014

Venue: Department of Performing Arts


Noun Sovitou

Choreographer Noun Sovitou
Asst to the Choreographer Chy Ratana (Leak)
Dancers ‌& Musicians Chy Ratana (Leak) and Sor Sophal
Dancers & Rappers from Tiny Toones Sorn Makara (Slick) and Sovann Dyrithy (Fresh)
Musicians Chy Ratana (Leak) and Sor Sophal
Costume Designer Ith Sovannareach

NOTE FROM THE CHOREOGRAPHER: We are aware of the meaning of "Religion". This word inspires me to create this new work. Every religion has the same goal: to teach and educate people to think and do good deeds. At the same time, there are people who choose not to believe in any religion other than themselves. I created this piece working with artists trained in Lakhaon Kaol (classical male masked dance) and in hip hop and break dance. We work together experimenting with artistic elements from movements, music, songs, costumes, and lighting.


Chy Ratana (Leak) (Dancer), (Assistant to the Choreographer and Musician) graduated from the Secondary School of Fine Arts with a Baccalaureate in 2000, specializing in the monkey role of the Lakhaon Kaol (Cambodian classical male masked dance) form and in 2012 was awarded a BA degree in choreographic arts at the Royal University of Fine Arts, Phnom Penh. In 2006, Leak developed a strong interest in contemporary dance and since then has been a featured dancer in works by Emmanuèle Phuon, Peter Chin, Arco Renz, Chung Yoen Soo and others which have toured internationally. He remains faithful to his traditional skills but he is also eager to further develop as a contemporary dancer. Leak also enjoys performing as an actor and was recently a featured character in Loy 9 – a new Cambodian TV drama. Leak was a featured dancer in CRACK – a new work of Cambodian contemporary dance by German choreographer Arco Renz when it was awarded the 2012 ZKB Patronage Prize in Zurich Switzerland in September 2012, Olden New Golden Blue by Peter Chin at Season of Cambodia Festival New York in April 2013, and Khmeropedies III: Source/Primate by Emmanuèle Phuon at the da:ns Festival in Singapore‌ in October 2013.

Sor Sophal (Dancer‌ & Musician) studied Lakhaon Kaol (Cambodian classical male masked dance) at the Royal Universtity of Fine Arts, graduating in 2010. Since 2011 he has performed Shadow Puppet, and the Giant and Monkey roles with Sovanna Phum. Since 2010 he has danced contemporary dance with Amrita dancer Belle's (Sodhachivy Chumvan) independent dance company. Sophal has performed with his band Ponleu Preah Chan (The Light of the Moon) since 2010.

Sorn Makara (Slick) (Dancer) started working at Tiny Toones as a dancer and dance teacher in 2009.He has performed at numerous venues from nightclubs to professional theatres. Prior to Tiny Toones, he was a professional performer at 'Korsan'. He has been doing hip hop, break dance, and contemporary. He has performed and joined dance workshops in Singapore, Thailand, and Mexico.

Sovann Dyrithy (Fresh) (Dancer) started dancing with Tiny Toones in 2007. He has been working with them since 2008 as a dance teacher, dance team leader and choreographer. He has been mentored by dancer Tuy Sobil in break-dance and hip hop and learnt about contemporary dance from the many French and Portuguese choreographers that have come to work with Tiny Toones in Cambodia. He is studying Business Management at Phnom Penh International University on a Tiny Toones scholarship.

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 & 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.