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The Serpent's Tail is the first in-depth history of Khmer classical dance written by a practitioner. Drawing from diverse sources, and touching upon religion and politics, language and philosophy, The Serpent's Tail explores the continuities of Khmer dance to its roots at Angkor and before. Incorporating numerous illustrations, photos, and videos, the digital inscription offers new meanings and possibilities for the ancient tradition in our world today.

"[A]n in-depth account of the historical diversity, contemporary dynamism, and future image of [Khmer classical dance] . . . a colorful and vivid interpretation of the value of dance to contemporary Cambodian society and its contributions to humanity.” 

- Saori Hagai

Associate Professor, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto


Read here:


Moni Mekhala and Ream Eyso retells the sacred drama of the same name, a tale in which rivaling students of a powerful hermit bring life to lightning, thunder, and rain. Weaving together interviews, essays, photographs, and illustrations, the book uses the story to explore the evolution of the Khmer classical dance tradition, the passage of leadership within an artistic tradition nearly destroyed by genocide, and the circumstances of today's women. Additional contributors include award-winning choreographer Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, cultural anthropologist Toni Shapiro-Phim, and visual artist Brian Mendez.

"This book is profoundly artist-centered and thus offers an utterly unique and intimate account of Khmer classical dance. This is the first book to acknowledge how gender and sexuality can be interrogated through Khmer dance, whether in the distant Cambodian past, in a post-genocide present, or in Long Beach, California." 

– Dr. Deborah Wong

Professor of Music, University of California - Riverside


Purchase the book now, all proceeds are donated to Khmer Arts:

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