Photo of the Week: The dance teacher

We’ll get back to the killing fields but tonight, after five hours of parent-teacher conferences and a week into trying to maneuver Hanoi on crutches thanks to a broken foot, I can’t bring myself to post something so disheartening.  Since work has been keeping me too busy and this broken foot has compromised my ability to drive around photographing Hanoi, here are several “photos of the week” from a dance school in Phnom Penh.

I took this photograph with my mother in mind.  As I watched the rehearsals, the teacher captivated me more than the dancers and I felt certain that my mom would have felt the same.  The joy in her face at watching her student practice ancient movements was more poignant than memoir.  Dance is an art form that resonates through Cambodian history; dancers are carved on temple facades and Angkor and the Khmer Rouge tried desperately to erase it from Cambodian culture.  The fact that this woman survived the Khmer Rouge is amazing; to survive and move on to revive and pass on traditions.  The survival of art is as important as the survival of people.  Where would survivors of genocide be if, at the end of it, they had no traditions to turn to for comfort?


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