CAMBODIA

Situated in southeast Asia, Cambodia is a beautiful country with a remarkable ancient history. In spite of the political instability they have experienced, the people of Cambodia remain determined to preserve their culture and traditions. The purpose of my visit to Siem Reap was to document the classical Aspara dancers who, for centuries, have played and important role in Cambodian culture. Historically connected to the Royal Court and once an integral part of court life, classical Khmer dance is not simply dance - it is drama in motion meant to portray romantic and traditional myths as well as religious messages.

The Aspara dancer is believed to be the human embodiment of the celestial dancers of the gods. The dancers never speak or sing but use specific gestures and movements to proclaim ancient legends. Their elaborate costumes, together with their graceful movements, depict the beauty and endurance of the Cambodian spirit. My models for this project arrived at the magnificent Angkor Wat temple complex looking like any other teenage girls. Magically, within an hour, they transformed themselves into Aspara dancers - enchanting, lovely and beautifully artistic.