Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cambodians “Trott” in the New Year


One of the hundreds of Khmer classical dances known as the Robam Trott survived the mass destruction during the Khmer Rouge regime between the 1975 and 1979, during which more than 90 percent of the Cambodian classical artists died, and remains popular among Cambodians, despite being more than 500 years old.

Preoung Chhieng, Vice Dean of the Royal University of Fine Arts, said that the reason Robam Trott is still a favorite among Cambodian people because the dance expresses happiness, peace, solidarity and prosperity for people, especially during the celebration of the Khmer New Year or during Buddhist ceremonies.

“I am happy with and very proud of the Trott classical dance that remains from our ancestors,” Chhieng said. “I think that even though this classical dance is an old Khmer traditional dance, it is still most interesting for people in Cambodia.”

Chhieng pointed out that Robam Trott was born during the Angkor period in the 12th and 13th centuries. He said the Samrae ethnic group first performed the classical at the royal palace or kings’ ceremony celebrations in order to expel tragedies and to bring the happiness, prosperity and success for the New Year.

He said that during Angkor period, the dance was also performed in communities, pagodas, villages and other important festivals throughout the country. Currently, Trott is mostly performed at the Buddhist festivals, Khmer New Year celebrations and various ceremonies.

“To preserve the dance for next Cambodian generation, we have to promote the performance of the dance during the Buddhist ceremonies and other national ceremonies in communities, districts, cities and provinces across the country,” Chhieng said.

Pech Tum Kravel, former Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said that the Trott can be performed by a small group or a big group. A small group, which contains about 10 male and female dancers, will perform at small ceremonies and a big group of about 17 dancers perform at large celebrations.

Tum Kravel said the Trott dance has usefulness for Cambodians because it aimed to show and promote peace, prosperity, solidarity and the richness of rice production and natural resources in Cambodia. He appealed to the people to continue support, enjoy and practice it in order to preserve it for future generations.

Teak Otdom, General Manager of the T.O. Export and Import Co., LTD, a company based in Phnom Penh, said he invited Trott dancers to perform at his office inauguration ceremony on April 10, 2003.

Otdom said that since the performance of Trott dance and establishment of his business in 2003, he noted that his business activities have improved with each passing year. He added that because of this belief, he decided to invite Trott dancers to perform at his office every year before the Khmer New Year celebration.

“I believe that the Trott performance is very important because it can bring the success, solidarity, progress and prosperity for my family and my staff. I will invite Rombat Trott dancers to perform at my office every year,” he said. ////

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