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  • Cross-Cultural Comparison of Dance: Cambodian Dance with Charya Burt

    Performances, and part of The Rama Epic Programs

    Jan 08

    Free admission courtesy of Target

    12—1 PM

    Samsung Hall

    Performances at 12 and 2 PM.

    The “Ramayana” comes to life through the third in a three-part series of cross-cultural dance workshops. Watch the story unfold through Balinese, North Indian and Cambodian dance with Bay Area dance superstars Gamelan Sekar Jaya, Chitresh Das Dance Company & Chhandam School of Kathak and Charya Burt.  

    Dancers Charya Burt and Reaksmey Lath introduce audiences to the history and form of Cambodian classical dance. The two will demonstrate gestures and movements of three main characters, Seda (Sita), Preah Ream (Rama) and Reab (Ravana), and unpack their meaning in “Reamker,” the Khmer version of the “Ramayana.”

    Charya Burt Biography: 

    Charya Burt is a master teacher, dancer and choreographer based in Northern California. A graduate and former dance faculty member of the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, Charya's training began in 1982 under the direction of the foremost dance masters of Cambodia. As a member of Cambodia’s royal dance troupe, Charya toured nationally and internationally. After immigrating to Northern California in 1993, Charya has been performing throughout the United States, including at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Jacob’s Pillow Festival at UCLA and 15 times as a featured performer at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. She received a B. A., cum laude, in Liberal Studies from Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California.

    Charya has been awarded numerous grants, including three from the Irvine Dance in California Program, three from CCI Investing in Artists, the Choreographer in Mentorship Exchange and twice from the Creative Work Fund. Her original dance pieces include Forever My Ancestors (2006), Blue Roses (2007), Of Spirits Intertwined (2009), Intersections Through Time (2010), Caressing Nostalgia (2011) and Blossoming Antiquities: Rodin's Encounter with the Celestial Dancers of Cambodia Phase One (2013). With Larry Reed, Charya developed The Rebirth of Aspara, an experimental dance/shadow theatre work (2013). Charya’s newest work, Silenced: Phase One, commissioned by the CounterPulse Artist Residency Commissioning Program in San Francisco, honors the life of Cambodian pop icon Ros Sereysothea. A recipient of the Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Individual Performance, Charya's mission is to continue to preserve her art form and to create new works rooted in tradition that forge innovation. Charya is currently the artist-in-residence for the Cultural Dance Group in San Jose and artistic director of Charya Burt Cambodian Dance, based in Windsor, California, whose website is

    Reakmey Lath Biography: 

    Reaksmey (Mea) Lath has been studying Cambodian classical dance since 2002 from the age of 12. She started her training with the artistic director of Khmer Arts Academy, Sophiline Cheam Shapiro. Throughout the years, she trained with master dancer/teacher Charya Burt and other master dancers, including Sothavy Khut and Sophanmay Nong, as well as with Khmer Arts Ensemble in Cambodia. In 2011, she trained once again under Charya Burt as part of ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program. During their 13-year relationship, Reaksmey has performed professionally with Charya often, including twice at the Palace of Fine Arts for the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, UC Santa Barbara and many more venues. Currently, Reaksmey is an instructor of classical Cambodian dance at The Khmer Arts Academy in Long Beach. Her goal is to preserve and pass down the art of Cambodian classical dance for many generations to come.  

Lead Sponsor

The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe is organized by the Asian Art Museum. Presentation at the Asian Art Museum is made possible with the generous support of Helen and Rajnikant Desai, The Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Fund for Excellence in Exhibitions and Presentations, Martha Sam Hertelendy, Vijay and Ram Shriram, Society for Asian Art, and Meena Vashee. Media sponsor: India West.

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