No visit to Cambodia is complete without attending at least one traditional Khmer dance performance, often referred to as 'Apsara Dance' after one of the most popular Classical dance pieces. Traditional Khmer
dance is better described as 'dance-drama' in that the dances are not merely dance but are also meant to convey a story or message.
Apsara dance has a grounded, subtle, and feather-light appearance. The dance is exceptionally unique with its elaborate costuming, tight posture, fingers flexed
backwards, arched back and feet, codified facial expressions, slow, deliberate but flowing movements. It presents themes, messages and stories inspired
primarily by the Reamker or the Ramayana and the Age of Angkor.
Subsequent Kings and other Khmer Royals also strongly supported the arts and dance, most particularly Queen Sisowath Kossamak Nearireach
(retired King Norodom Sihanouk's mother) in the mid-20th century, who not only fostered a resurgence in the study and development of Khmer traditional dance,
but also helped move it out of the Palace and popularize it. Queen Sisowath Kossamak trained her grand daughter Princess Bopha Devi in the art of
traditional dance from early childhood, who went on to become the face of Khmer traditional dance in the 1950s and 60s both in Cambodia and around the world.
Apsara dance performances are normally available in the evening with dinner at a local restaurant or hotel. Dinner serves at 6:00 or
7:00PM and dance performances follow at 7:30PM or 8:00PM, include 4 or 5 dances, lasting about 45 minutes to an hour. Dinner varies from international/Khmer
buffet to a delightful Khmer set menu. Some restaurants do not charge admission for the performance, but you are expected to order dinner. Seat reservations are recommended especially during the high season