Cambodian Living Arts believes that arts and cultural expression are essential to a thriving future for Cambodia. This month, we tell the story of Phal Saravuth, leader of Yu Vek Selapak troupe, a group of young artists skilled in dancing, music and theatre.
Phal Saravuth formed the troupe Yu Vek Selapak out of the Khmer Youth Culture Conservation and Protection Association, which he has led since 2010. Since 2016, they have been performing at Cambodian Living Arts’ (CLA) Traditional Dance Show at the National Museum in Phnom Penh.
Saravuth talks about the benefits of performing so regularly. He says, “Compared with last year, my artists have improved both their artistic skills and their incomes a lot. They can support their studies and their living costs. And gradually, the dancers have learned new skills from their peers. For example, now trained classical dancers can perform the folk dances and the folk dancers now can also perform classical dance. Now they can do it.”
He is very committed to the artistic quality of the troupe, as well as ensuring that the dancers are well-trained. He supplies them with glittering and eye-catching costumes, and headdresses based on his research at Cambodia’s ancient temples.
However, his dedication to this part of traditional Khmer dance also presents some challenges. He told us, “The costumes for the dancers really cost me a lot. If we only have a little money, we cannot make those. Sometimes I have to get loans or borrow money from my friends in order to produce the material even though I have my own workshop to do it.”
Read AsiaLIFE’s complete profile of Phal Saravuth here.
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