Tag Archives: champa

Apsara Classical Dancer

Angkor Photography Festival Entry

“Dance of the Cham Nymph.”
Classical Cham Dancer From My Son, Central Vietnam.
This was wrote in 2006 for a photo festival.

The Champa empire once ruled across indochina and had some influences on the khmer empire. This classical dance is derived from Indian court dance, which traces its origins to the apsarases (or apsara) of Hindu mythology, heavenly female nymphs who were born to dance for the gods. The traditions of Thailand and Java Indonesia also influenced the music and dance form of both the champa and khmer empires. In this classical dance, the women, dressed in brightly colored costumes with elaborate headdresses, perform slow, graceful movements accompanied by a percussive ensemble the khmers call “pinpeat”.

Once performed to Cham/Khmer royalty, now performed to the burdeoning tourist industry of central vietnam. Tourism has been growing rapidly in this region in the last 5 years. More so now with the advent of budget airlines. Young aspiring classical dancers perform daily to the tourist dollar at these cultural centre.

The photo is done up digitally and my attempt to replicate the old method of color tinting my bw gelatin photo prints. Hence the color tint tones.

I took this image when I was in Central Vietnam, My Son, visiting the ruins. Each morning around 9am, these dance students would entertain the tourists visiting the Champa ruins. My Son is situated 1 hour away from Hoi Ann by motorbike.

Apsara Dancer 2