Our grannies and mums and dads are trying their hand at classical Khmer dance and music lessons


At 7.30am on a Sunday morning, the library at CCF’s Divine Community is unusually busy. There’s a ripple of excitement in the air and a bustle in the room.
Seated on the floor next to a large bookcase with the nearby window shuttered to stop the sun streaming in, are the recruits for the new beginners class in Khmer traditional dance. All of them are novices, many are over the age of 50 and a few are nudging past 70.

CCF has just started running courses for adults in dance and music every Sunday and so far, it’s proving very popular with our grannies, grandpas and mums and dads.
Classes are all free and open to all adults from the Steung Meanchey community, but especially parents and grandparents of CCF children.
“The main reason we started the classes is to involve the people in our community so they can understand more about Khmer culture through music and dancing,” says Hoy Leanghoin, CCF’s Community Outreach Manager.

In the Divine Community library, the ladies are getting down to some serious lessons in traditional dance, also known as Apsara, an integral part of the national culture. This involves slow and graceful movements combined with expressive and precise hand gestures, known as ‘kbach’.
Learning the intricate movements takes time but CCF’s newest recruits to the art form are enthusiastically embracing the challenge. Some of our younger community members also popped along to join in the fun.
Teaching the moves are university students from CCF, passing on their skills to the older generation.
“They enjoyed the class a lot and I wish to involve more parents in the the community,” says Hoy Leanghoin.

Over at the Community Outreach building, the sounds of traditional Khmer music can be heard drifting through the windows. Here, mums, dads and grannies are learning songs from days gone by with musical instruments bought by CCF and borrowed from other facilities. To continue the community spirit, parents of CCF children are the ones helping others learn the craft.

There’s a serious side to the classes too. It’s hoped to reach out to other members of the community who might otherwise be led astray during their free time.
“It could help them to stay away from alcohol and drugs,” says Hoy Leanghoin.




Kate Ginn/CCF

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