Khmer Arts Revival Program
The aim of this project is to revive Khmer arts in the lives of Takeo's citizens. In the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot regime in which hundreds of educated professors and skilled artists were murdered, Khmer Arts is in jeopardy of going dormant in a society colored by its unique traditions, dances, and song. Khmer Arts, especially performance arts, are an important part of Khmer culture. Many primary schools equip teachers with descriptive posters to educate students on basic traditional Khmer dance moves, or books that explain the moves and their significance; however, teachers are not skilled enough or familiar enough with the moves to teach them to students.
As part of this project, students at Takeo Provincial Teacher Training center (PTTC), a state funded public university for future primary school teachers of Takeo province, will take dance classes to learn about the importance of Khmer cultural practices. By offering these courses at the teacher training college, future teachers will develop and harness these arts skills, bringing Khmer arts from the provincial city into the rural villages all over Takeo, and helping to spread the importance of arts education.
The trainees are learning a lot from their dances classes, especially about their culture. Equipped with these trainings, they feel confident to incorporate dance and arts education into elementary school curriculums all across rural villages in Takeo. The trainees are teaming up with PTTC's drama club and presenting a multicultural performance to the community at the end of June, 2015.
Final Report: 9/27/2016
The final performance, featuring select students, was held on schedule. Work on training primary school educators in teaching about traditional Khmer art, music, and dance will continue until 60% of the local faculty have received the training and methodology to teach Khmer art appreciation to youth.
"While the students are not expected to become professional dancers, this experience has allowed them to regain a sense of pride and ownership of their own culture and an understanding of an ancient culture that they will be proud to share with their students in the future." - Garlaine, Peace Corps Volunteer
"I like to do activities like Khmer arts and drama. When I do these activities, I do not feel shy. I work together with my friends until we can do it." - Mao, Project Participant