Saturday, 04 Jul 2020

Gay Dancers Break Down the Cambodia Tradition


Source: thejakartapost.comSource: - Six male dancers from Cambodia's first gay "Apsara" troupe swirl in unison on a dimly stage. Their production is a radical shake-up of a ballet form performed by women for more than a thousand years.

"Some people say LGBTQ people are born abnormal," 23-year-old dancer Chan Sory tells AFP during a rehearsal in Phnom Penh.

"So our goal is to use art to change their mindset."

He is part of Prumsodum Ok & Natyarasa, an all-male Apsara company. They try to alter perceptions of the gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community in Cambodia -- which is still plagued by prejudice.

Read more: This Day in History : The Baigong Pipes, a mysterious series of ancient pipe, found embedded in the rock near Mount Baigong in China

Apsara is a celebrated part of Khmer culture. A popular culture in which the dancers are engraved on the walls of the Angkorian. The company founder, Prumsodum Ok, said some people are angry he is breaking with convention.

"But once they see the quality of the dancing... they can see our love and devotion for the tradition," explains Prumsodun, a Cambodian-American choreographer.

Buddhist-majority Cambodia does not criminalize same-sex relations, but human rights groups say the community still faces prejudices linking them to drug use and sex work. They are still often caricatured on popular television shows.





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