Khmer dance is a highly stylized art form, in which (extremely flexible) dancers use a complex alphabet of hand and body positions to convey a story, similar to mime or ballet. Elaborate costumes are used, and most classical stories have no spoken or sung parts. There are approximately 100 dances and dramas that are classically used, and the art form was nearly extinguished during the Khmer Rouge years, but a resurgence (aided by the tourist industry) has seen new dances and fusion performances of classical Khmer and foreign dances by some troupes.
When should I go and how long do I need?
Shows are in the evening and are typically one-two hours long. Dinner performances are now the most popular venue - most places offering buffet or set menus combined with a one-hour dance performance. Dinner ordinarily begins at 6:00 or 7:00 PM and dance performances at 7:30 PM or 8:00 PM, consisting of 4 or 5 dances (classical and folk).
How much does it cost?
Most dinner performances run $10-$35 including the meal and admission. Some venues do not charge admission for the performance, but you are expected to order dinner.
Where should I go?
We suggest you go to National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh to enjoy the dance.
It starts at 7 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm). Enjoy a spectacular showcase of eight classical and folk dances, performed by the Cambodian Living Arts on Stage (formerly known as Plae Pakaa) and accompanied by live singers and musicians, dazzling costumes, and beautiful stage sets. By attending these dances, you will be swept along on a journey through Cambodian history from ancient Angkorian palaces to the villages of today.