The Royal Ballet of Cambodia is listed as Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage and dates back more than 1,000 years. During the devastating Khmer Rouge period of the late 1970s, when an estimated 90 per cent of the country’s artists, including dancers, were killed, the performance art form was almost done for. A handful of dancers – who survived by going into hiding or fleeing to France – later led a movement to revive the tradition.
Directed by Princess Norodom Buppha Devi, half-sister of Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihamoni. The princess was the country’s prima ballerina in the 60s and at the forefront of the push to return the tradition to its former glory. The troupe typically performs only for the Cambodian royal family and at exclusive events