Yeak Role Fundamentals
Teaching the basic movement of yeak or demon characters in preparation for a sampeah kru or prayer to the teachers ceremony. This is the first dance that I learned when I entered the world of Khmer dance, and was the primary role played by my teacher's teacher Soth Sam On who was the yeak star in the palace from the 1950s to 1970s.
SOPHAROTH - LOVE ADRIFT
Originally made for dance, this song is an example of new mahori, mixing Khmer and foreign instruments and featuring singing in English. I worked with composer Hong Sreysantepheap to rearrange the traditional melody Lao Chom Chan, which is beloved in Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos. This music video marks my return to filmmaking after thirteen years, and reflects my sensibilities as a writer, director, editor, and colorist. It also reflects my ventures into art direction, fashion design (in collaboration with Phnom Penh-based designers), and music and film production. Full credits can be viewed in the video link.
SOPHAROTH - LOVE ADRIFT (Debut Performance)
Sopharoth, the first vocalist produced by my new Sereiyos Productions, makes his debut before H.E. Keo Remy of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee in celebration of International Human Rights Day. The event was organized by Rainbow Community Kampuchea, and also celebrated the historic launch of ខ្ញុំទទួលយក - I Accept. This is Cambodia's first marriage equality campaign bringing together members of the community, civil society groups, and leaders. This particular event was a closed-door dialogue with officials from the Royal Government of Cambodia.
I am the director of the entire performance, which features Sopharoth with independent artists and musicians from the Royal University of Fine Arts. I am also the choreographer, and the dancers are my sisters from the Sophiline Arts Ensemble.
A Deepest Blue Research Pilgrimage
A short, informal impression of our research-pilgrimage to Koh Sdach, an island off the southwest coast of Cambodia. This was for A Deepest Blue, our project in-progress which contemplates an imperial origin myth shared by Cambodia and Japan to explore humanity's relationship to our oceans and waters. In its full manifestation, A Deepest Blue will bring together Khmer classical dance, gagaku court music, Japanese Buddhist drumming and chanting, and holographic animation. In the video, the dancers of Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA are singing Khmer lyrics I wrote and set onto the Japanese gagaku melody Derute.
Phleng Spean Chivit (Rehearsal)
Teaching an excerpt of the final love scene in Phleng Spean Chivit. Vocals by the dancers of Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA. I designed these costumes reflecting my years-long and ongoing research into Angkorian iconography, and taking inspiration from the original story and the evergreen trees at Okunoin at the Koyasan sacred mountain complex.
PHLENG SPEAN CHIVIT
A work-in-progress presentation of Phleng Spean Chivit, a new classical dance drama inspired by the Japanese folktale Akoya-Hime. In this story, a young woman falls in love with a tree spirit and must eventually fell his tree so that her community may build a bridge. I wrote the structure and lyrics for Phleng Spean Chivit in a very short period (under one month), and in its full manifestation the drama will be a two-hour, intergenerational spectacle featuring forty artists.
Satoh Makoto on Phleng Spean Chivit
Award-winning theater director Satoh Makoto, who has been building artistic collaborations and networks across Asia for decades, shares his thoughts on our work-in-progress presentation of Phleng Spean Chivit (above). Japanese, followed by English translation.
Layering evocative English narration, Khmer melodies, and Japanese Buddhist chanting onto a lush soundscape, Beloved casts a history of ritual lovemaking into the dancing bodies of gay men. Inspired by a tantric ritual recorded in the thirteenth century—in which the Khmer king would make nightly sexual unions with a naga—Beloved is a contemporary rain dance meditating on the nature and power of love.
Photo: Nobuyuki Arai.
Drops and Seeds
Created in collaboration with composer Ana Maria Rodriguez and lighting and stage installation artist Fred Pommerehn, and featuring performers from Ensemble KNM Berlin and Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA, Drops and Seeds meditates upon the cycle of violence and oppression that led to the brutality of the Khmer Rouge.
Video credit: http://tanzforumberlin.de
DROPS AND SEEDS
Khun Chay and other dancers of Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA perform Drops and Seeds at the Department of Performing Arts in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Photo: Nobuyuki Arai.
MONI MEKHALA & REAM EYSO
I shared this beloved and sacred tale on the origins of lightning, rain, and thunder with TED-Ed, writing the script and providing images for visual reference.
From the archives: Just playing around in my old living room where Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA was born. Music: Iguazu by Gustavo Santaolalla.
From the archives: I think it was 2014. I ventured alone through the many temples of Angkor, on a trip that was all at once pilgrimage, research, self-discovery, and connecting to my ancestral roots. Here I am dancing Robam Tayae, one of the most sacred works of the Khmer classical dance canon. Looking at it now, it was far from perfect dancing. But it is 100% a part of my journey and story.