Various forms of performing arts can be found in Cambodia. Some are used in entertainment and ceremonies, while others serve as offering
rituals to the gods. These performing arts, previously known in Khmer as mahosrab or lpaen, can be classified into two categories: dance (rapam) and theater (lkhon).
Dance: invokes soft and slow movements of the hand, leg and body.
Theater: stage enactments of ancient myths, religious stories and folktales.
The Apsara dance is a traditional dance of the Kingdom of Cambodia that dates back to the 7th century according to some of the carvings found at the Sambor Prei Kuk temples (Kompong Thom province) which immortalized Apsaras dancing on the stone. It is an essential part of the Khmer culture which finds its roots in different religions on which Cambodia had been built upon (Animism, Hinduism, and Buddhism). Indeed, every single movement of the fingers has a particular meaning. It can worship the spirits of nature by depicting a blossoming flower or refer to one of the hundreds legends of Buddhism or Hinduism.
Apsara dance was proclaimed as a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 2003.
Another extremely popular dance included in most traditional dance performances in Siem Reap is the Theatrical Folk Dance known as the fishing
Dance. It is a playful, energetic folk dance with a strong, easy-to-follow story line. It was developed in the 1960s at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh and was inspired by the developer’s interpretation of idealized and stereotyped aspects of rural life and young love.
Coconut dance, a popular dance from south-eastern Cambodia, is usually performed during wedding ceremonies. Very rhythmical and punctuated with shouts and rapping of coconuts, it expresses joy in life and harmony.
To assist to performances and discover the beauty of classical Khmer dance, please get in touch with
Sacred Dancers of Angkor
This professional troupe of dancers was created and funded by Nginn Karet Foundation to protect, promote and perpetuate the authenticity of the legacy of Khmer ballet with a unique spiritual dimension.
Performances will allow you to discover the essence of classical Khmer ballet while enjoying the beauty, precision and graceful movements of the serenely smiling dancers, as well as listening to the tinkling of the Cambodian xylophones played by the musicians.
The Sacred Dancers of Angkor perform from 7-8pm every Sunday at the Divine Sala, the traditional wooden houses. These houses serve as the headquarters of the Nginn Karet Foundation, who support and protect the tangible heritage through this social project.
234 River Road, Treang Village, Siem Reap
Phone +855 (0) 63 964 412
Angkor Village Theater
Wat Bo Road, opposite to Angkor Village Hotel, Siem Reap
Tel: + 855 63 963 561