During the Khmer New Year holiday on Tuesday evening, we were invited to go with the KSEDO kids to their performance at the Sofitel Hotel.
The children have been working 4 days a week for several months with two dance instructors (husband and wife). The previous Saturday and this Tuesday were their first public performances, other than frequent impromptu routines for visitors to KSEDO.
The festivities started at KSEDO, where we got to help the children prepare for the event. Preparation included playing some of the traditional New Year games, including musical chairs. I think Samai won every single time. We also served them orange juice (which they didn't like), super sweet soda and bread covered with chocolate pate.
Sarah plays musical chairs with the kids
After playing games, the girls sat in groups and began the long process of applying makeup.
|Dance instructor applies makeup to Chitra and other girls|
|Samorn (10) is transformed from angelic to exotic|
After changing clothes, we all piled into a pickup truck and headed over to the hotel.
|Chitra (14) and Chan-Tong (11) wait for the truck|
Chitra looks heavenly on the way over to the hotel
|The men imitate the face on the mask|
The kids were giving a private performance outside in the pool area for attendees of the Asia Pacific Lottery Association (APLA) conference. The hotel had set up a cabana for the kids to use as a changing room, so they all quickly changed into their first costume.
While we were waiting for the performance to begin, Samorn and Prempry sat on a bench and played some traditional xylophone and drum music for the guests to enjoy.
|Da and Samet are warriors and pals|
|Megane gives Savath a hug on Megane's last night in Siem Reap|
|Savy, Mesa, Sokly, Samet and Vakim are ready for action|
|The girls are also primed for the performance|
None of these kids have any stage fright, and they are skilled performers. They wow'ed the guests with their first routine, but unfortunately there was a sudden downpour of heavy rain after only a few minutes.
|Colorful costumes on the pool stage, before the rains came|
The guests all ran inside. Eventually the hotel staff advised us that a new area inside the hotel was set up for the performance, so we all moved inside into another makeshift staging area.
|Samorn, Samai, Sarah and Chan-Tong during the rain delay|
|Da, Kakada, Pren and Savy (14 - 16) are all close|
|Da strikes an apsara dancing position|
|The kids love to pose, but we got in this candid photo backstage|
Sarah stayed in the dressing area, to help the kids with several costume changes while John photographed the kids during their many dances.
|The second performance begins, inside a banquet room|
|Savy busts a move, to the delight of a conventioneer|
|The older boys and girls dance and jump over long sticks|
|The younger girls take the stage|
|Dance teacher's daughter, Chan-Tong, Samai and Samorn|
The performance was outstanding. The two dance instructors did an unbelievable job getting the kids ready for prime time. We spoke to some of the conference attendees during the last few routines, and they were similarly impressed. We were proud to be associated with KSEDO.
We honestly think that several of these kids have the talent to perform as adults. They have body movements that are confident, nuanced and fluid. What a joy to watch!