When Angmalay and her team arrived in Kochi on Tuesday from Cambodia, their mind was about the performance they would showcase at the international folk festival at Durbar hall in the evening. But their thoughts were broken when they realised that one of their suitcases was stuck at the airport. Though they contacted the coordinator, he informed them that they could get it only at night. “Hence, we cannot perform tonight. This is a blow as we came with lots of expectations. This is the first time we are covering such a vast distance,” she said with the help of Seng Sam the only one among them who speaks a little English. “But we are keeping our fingers crossed for our performance on Wednesday,” she said.
Angmalay is the team leader and is the deputy director of Department of Performance Arts under the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Cambodia. She teaches in the university and has come with her students.
When asked how they were communicating with the people here, they said “It was not difficult as the people here are warm and always wear a smile. Right from our arrival here, we have been properly taken care of. Besides, we concentrate on the body language.”
Seng with his limited English tried his best to explain the similarities existing between Cambodian and the Indian dance forms but all he could convey was that the traditional dance of Cambodia resembles Indian dance in many ways as most of the themes are from ‘Ramayana’.
They have a variety to offer. Seng said that of their folk dances, the Peacock of Pailin has a history of about 1,900 years. “The rest are very recent in origin. This dance shows the courting scene between a peacock and a peahen. This dance form is called so as it originated in the Pailin province of Cambodia,” he said.
Their other item fish harvest dance is the perfect example of expressing their sentiments to the earth and water. “As the saying in Cambodia goes, where there is water, there is fish and also fishermen. Hence it brings the fishermens’ lives to the stage. The fishing methods, their activities and even the courting scene are depicted through this particular art form,” said Angmalay.
Kandob ses dance is curious as it shows a grasshopper immersed in deep prayer. Mouth organ of the suoy ethnic dance is yet another item they would perform at the International Folk festival.