I was exposed to it a lot when I went to church in Los Angeles. (a Christian church). My old best friend was an active dancer of the Cambodian dancing group in Long Beach and her parents would organize dancing performances during the church service as a way to promote Cambodian culture. When the Church service had combined different languages, such as during Thanksgiving I remember my mom would be pissed that my best friend’s mom can get away with organizing a dance meant for either an ancient Cambodian king or something affiliated with Buddhism.
I also remember that I had attended one of their trial classes in Long Beach and I observed the elasticity of their hands bent backwards, their balance, the patience to wear heavy gold jewelry and crowns while maintaining a steady yet careful dance flow.
The only thing I enjoyed about these dance performances was being entertained by the demon dancer.
The demon dancer is probably a character in the dance performance who has intentions of kidnapping or raping or killing the female dancer or princess-like character of the performance.
Why do they know this piece?
It’s probably the most creative and representative form of art within Cambodian culture.
Where/Who did they learn it from?
My old best friend / the Cambodian service at the Christian church.
What does it mean for them?
An art form perhaps worth more exploring when visiting Cambodia.
Context of Performance:
Sitting inside friend’s room talking.
I think it’s interesting here how even though the subject’s parents did not have a strong cultural root(s) in Cambodian culture, that as immigrants joining an American Christian church in Los Angeles, California (with a Cambodian service), she was able to in a way get back in touch with her Cambodian cultural roots. Interesting to see that in America, at least, today, you can still go to say, a church, a community/organization outside your traditional folklore handing-down passageway (usually just from family) to learn/get into contact/access with your forgotten cultural roots/folklore.