Document(s): The Dancer and Cambodian History

“The Dancer and Cambodian History” is from the Document(s) series, a library of commentary on people and issues in the dance field. This repository of essays includes interviews by writers and thinkers on dance, as well as “dance discursions,” which offer opportunities for reflection on the field of dance commissioned by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Dance ethnologist and anthropologist Toni Shapiro-Phim traces the legacy of Cambodian dancer and teacher Pen Sokhuon against the backdrop of the historical and political changes that have taken place in Cambodia.

From the essay:

“Sokhuon’s centrality to Cambodia’s dance world stems in part from her continued technical prowess and expressive elegance. But it also reflects a broader truth: Cambodia’s tragic 20th-century history has had an enormous impact on the cultural life of the country, leaving alive perhaps only a tenth of the nation’s professional artists by the end of the 1970s. Teaching new generations of dancers under the daunting conditions of continued civil war and extreme poverty has resulted in the graduation of persevering, accomplished younger performers, some of whom have stayed in Cambodia and continued to dance, and many others of whom have left the arts for better-paying work, or left the country altogether. The wide impact of recent history on the lives of artists is brought into high relief when we trace the experiences of a prominent dancer such as Pen Sokhuon.”

Download the essay (PDF) >

On the occasion of OutBeat: America’s First Queer Jazz Festival, jointly organized by the William Way LBGT Community Center and Ars Nova Workshop with funding from the Center, we invited Professor Ashon Crawley (UC Riverside) to unpack the concept of “queer sound.”

Collaborators & Colleagues

Rainey has performed with companies such as Dance Theatre of Harlem and Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, and he was a soloist with Pennsylvania Ballet from 1999–2006.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Through more than 100 published works and many recordings, Bernard Rands is well-established as a major figure in contemporary music.

Grants & Grantees

Philadanco reconstructed Bad Blood, a highly physical and seldom-performed piece by Ulysses Dove, which premiered at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in April 2014.

Grants & Grantees

Headlong Dance Theater worked with a team of advisors to assess its options following the recent departure of one of its three founding directors.

Grants & Grantees

Pew Fellow Nami Yamamoto’s cut-paper installations reflect the hundreds of natural and man-made objects she consistently collects, serving as visual resources and inspirations for her practice.

Grants & Grantees

Frances Negrón-Muntaner is a filmmaker and a 1994 Pew Fellow.

Thaddeus Phillips teams up with the Minneapolis-based musical duo Wilhelm Bros. & Co. to create this action-opera about Edgar Allan Poe’s mysterious last days.

Grants & Grantees

FringeArts presents, develops, and commissions a range of high-quality contemporary performing and visual arts in Philadelphia.

Please Touch Museum received an Advancement grant to research and develop a new set of blended digital and hands-on exhibitions, education programs, and marketing and distribution strategies.

Grants & Grantees

Jamaaladeen Tacuma (Pew Fellow, 2011) is considered a living legend among jazz circles. He is credited with redefining the potential of the electric bass.

In conjunction with the recent Center-funded retrospective, Trisha Brown: In the New Body, we invited author and art critic Douglas Crimp and MoMA PS1’s Peter Eleey to reflect on Brown’s influential choreographic practice.