Daily Life :: Traditional Dances

Cambodian dance can be divided into three main categories:
  • Classical Dance
    Classical dance developed in the royal courts

    The honored tradition of classical Khmer dance stretches back over a thousand years to the Age of Angkor when it was popular with the royalty. Dancers perform barefooted in richly embroidered costumes. They use slow, stylized movements and hand gestures to tell a story much like a mime.

  • Coconut Dance
    Folk dances portray everyday life

    Khmer folk dances are fast-paced and the movements and gestures are not as stylized as Khmer classical dance. Folk dancers wear clothes of the people they are portraying such as Cham-Malay, hill tribes, farmers and peasants. Some folk dances are stories of love or animals.

  • Ram Vong - Dance in a line
    Vernacular dances for social functions and festivals

    Such social dances include ram vong, ram kbach and ram saravan.

    In the music video on the right, you get a glimpse of the girls catching the Khmer scarf ball and throwing it back to hit the boys in a game called "Chol Chhoung".

Some dances are accompanied by music played by a pinpeat orchestra with stringed and percussion instruments - including a hammered dulcimer (khim), a 3-stringed fiddle (tro) and a bamboo xylophone (roneat).