Apsara Dance Show – Siem Reap, Cambodia

The Apsaras, in the Khmer traditional culture, are female spirits of the clouds and waters and supernatural female dancers in the Hindu mythology. These nymphs have become some of the most symbolic characters in many bas-reliefs at the temples of Angkor, representing through their dances many passages of the classic Khmer culture. You can’t fully experience Cambodia without watching an Apsara dance Siem Reap show.

Wearing glittering silk tunics, sequined tops and elaborate golden headdresses, the dancers execute their movements with great deftness and deliberation; knees bent in plié, heels touching the floor first at each step, coy smiles on their faces. The restrained, feather-light dance style evokes the grandeur and elegance of the Angkor era.

In the past there were thousands of Apsara dancers at the royal court performing exclusively for the king, however only a few of them survived the ravages of the Khmer Rouge (the Cambodian Communist Party) that nearly extinguished the genre. It was not until 1995, 16 years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, that Cambodians once again witnessed a public performance of Apsara dance, at Angkor Wat. Nowadays Cambodian children, once they will be 7, will be chosen for their aptitude, their flexibility and the elegance of their hands to receive dance training. It takes them about 6 years to learn the 1,500 intricate positions, and a further 3 to 6 years to attain the required level of artistic maturity.

After a long day visiting temples and monuments, tourists can enjoy a relaxing night witnessing an Apsara dance Siem Reap show presented by several hotels and restaurants. Along with the carefully choreographed performance, a buffet or set-menu dinner is served. Most of the time the cost includes the meal and admission fee while some venues do not charge admission for the performance but you are expected to order dinner.

Apsara Dance Siem Reap