During our annual staff retreat, we saw a wonderful performance of Khmer traditional dances in the temples of Angkor. The atmosphere was incredible.
Khmer classical dance suffered a huge blow during the Khmer Rouge regime during which many dancers were killed because classical dance was thought as of an aristocratic institution. Although 90 percent of all Cambodian classical artists perished between 1975 and 1979 after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, those who did survive wandered out from hiding, found one another, and formed "colonies" in order to revive their sacred traditions. Khmer classical dance training was resurrected in the refugee camps in eastern Thailand with the few surviving Khmer dancers. Many dances and dance dramas were also recreated at the Royal University of Fine-Arts in Cambodia. The Royal Ballet of Cambodia was the main troupe of classical dancers in Cambodia before the Khmer Rouge regime, but since Cambodia regained its peace, a few other professional and amateur troupes have emerged.