With The Cambodian Royal Dancers
December 1, 2011 - February 28, 2012
In 1927, believing that the Royal Ballet was endangered, George
Groslier, Director of the National Museum, decided to preserve the
memory of the ballet by initiating a remarkable work of photographic
documentation. Five principal women dancers - Nou Nâm, Ith,
Anong Nari, Kieuvan and Suon - represented the four primary roles
of the classical canon: the male role (Nearong), the female role
(Neang), the monkey role (Sva) and the giant (Yeak); sometimes in
duos, repeating the postures and gestures as they were recorded
by the photographer. The result of this work is a fantastic collection
of glass negatives with two images by plate.
Forgotten and left in adverse conditions; making preservation a
challenge, this unique collection was recently re-discovered, catalogued,
restored and digitized.
The dancers appear in rehearsal costumes which lend a special authenticity
to the images, along with a profound emotional quality.
At the initiative of the French School of Asian Studies (EFEO),
the pictures are exhibited for the first time in the same location
where the images were shot, at the National Museum of Phnom Penh.