dance cambodia

An exchange of art and culture which carries with it a message of peace and caring.

Last last day in Phnom Penh for 3 of us

Tuesday 23rd June

In the morning we went to a gallery in Phnom Penh to see an exhibition of photographs of a very well known housing project that is under threat of being torn down. It houses some of Phnom Penh’s poorest inhabitants. Many of the students (that you see in the photos) that attend music and dance classes at Cambodian Living Arts live in that building.

Mei and I went with Mong to pick up some copies that Fred Frumberg had made for us of an Asian Pacific dance newsletter containing information about the connections between many countries in Asia including Cambodia, India Malaysia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Australia, Hong Kong and others. It’s wonderful to get a perspective on what’s going on in the East in the dance scene. It would be incredible to have some kind of gathering of dance people from East and West. This is something to seriously consider for the future. A huge project, but a very exciting one. Hmmmmmmmm .. food for thought. Perhaps a wonderful thing to do to show our solidarity and to tell the world how much dance and dance practitioners have to offer to the world at this point in time.

We also bought Mong a very nice white shirt as a present for looking after us so well during our stay here. If anyone comes to Cambodia we have Mong’s e-mail address and we can highly recommend him as a safe and big-smiling companion during your stay. He told us he drives his tuk tuk in the ‘countryside’ style. The village where he lives is just outside Phnom Penh. And it’s true, we noticed that his style of driving is much less aggressive than many of the drivers in the city. You have to be a little pushy as most people seem to take NO notice of any kind of rules on the road. As we said before cross roads are a free for all, and bikes, tuk tuks, motor bikes, cars, busses and lorries are all looking for space to cross. It’s an insane and somewhat intimidating choreography. But don’t let this put you off in any way. It’s a reflection of the way things happen around here, and because of this there is plenty of room for exciting adventures to happen. Our trip developed through being here, and connecting with different people. One thing has led to another. If you stay open, alert and ready there are worlds of experience to be had.
I highly recommend a trip to Cambodia to everyone!

In the afternoon yesterday we taught a 2hr workshop to the staff of the 3 Boddhi Tree Guest houses. Manuel the owner organized it for his staff.
We taught on the wooden stage of Savanna Phun (where we saw the shadow puppet performances). We got there before they arrived and cleared away the red ants that seemed to be making some kind of nest on the stage! It was hotter than you can believe and we were extremely surprised when a group of 20+ people ranging in age arrived. When we sat and introduced ourselves it was also surprising to see that everyone in the company from the house keepers to the assistant manager, the book keepers, the chefs and the restaurant staff came!
We did a demonstration of improvisation for them, and then we invited them to do some stretching, some Tai Chi and partner exercises including handstands and cartwheels, partner stretching, simple lifts and ended with nice relaxing body work . They were all extremely game and gave everything a try. Seeing as none of them were dancers they did brilliantly and much of what we did was alien to them and their culture. They all seemed very happy by the end as were we.

After the workshop Mong picked us up and took us to a spa in town where Manuel had booked all 5 of us in for a 1 ½ hr massages! What a treat, and a PERFECT way to end our trip.

Feeling relaxed and fully satisfied we went to a local restaurant that Mong suggested called Boat Noodle. We invited him to dinner with us, joking that it was Mong and the 6 ladies, which was met with a HUGE smile. Of course we plied him with a thousand questions. He told us that he would LOVE to start a business of his won, a restaurant.
We gave him his shirt which he said he would open when he got home.

Another FULLY SATISFYING day in Phnom Penh!

Wednesday 24th

Our final morning. I was up early enjoying the morning fresh air, before the heat descends! The black cat always pays me a visit in the morning. He guards the guest house. He must be a good fighter because one of his ears had had a severe battering. But he is in reality a TOTAL softy!

I just got a text from Manuel saying that the staff were delighted yesterday. This morning they are greeting us with added warmth. They are always warm and friendly but today they are brimming with smiles and ‘did you sleep well?’ and so on. What a beautiful race.
We have been delighted in turn to be able to dance with them. Manuel said that perhaps next time I can be a resident at the guest house and can give the staff regular classes in ‘the beauty of moving ones body to music’. Sounds good to me. I think I will change my class description to this title, except I would add ‘the beauty of moving ones body to music, and to the silence’. Have to work on that one a bit but it has great potential.

SO the last fw thigns to do this morning and then Mei, RuHong and I are Taipei bound. Laura, Renay and Ya-Ling have one more night and leave tomorrow. Ya-Ling does back to Singapore where she has another month of research, before she returns to Taipei. Renay and Laura head for Rome.
I have one night in Taipei, the next night in London and the following day I leave for Italy, to a region called Puglis in S Italy where the next stage of our adventures begin. Sadly Mei and RuHong will not come to Italy this year. Mei has a perrformanc ein Hong Kong in a week’s time and then she heads off to Colorado to a summer dance festival, taking some of her students from Taipei.
Renay, Laura and I will see each other in La Luna nel Pozzo where we will spend the next week dancing, dialoguing, eating, swimming together with a group of 16 international dancers and improvisers. 2 musicians Dorothy and Armand will be joining us from the University of Illinois, so we will be having some more joyous and fascinating exchanges. WE ARE SO LUCKY!!! AND WE MUST NEVER FORGET THIS FACT.
Bon Voyage……….,.

The White Building
The White Building

The White Building


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