Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Lion dancers of Cambodia stick to their art during pandemic

Lion dance heads are displayed at a temple ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, January 21, 2022. REUTERS/Cindy Liu

Gnuon Virak, a Cambodian dragon and lion dancer, gathers his group in a circle before letting out a team shout and getting to work rehearsing for their sole Lunar New Year performance of the pandemic-stricken year.

The news: Gnuon, 28, has been dancing since he was a toddler and grew up near a Chinese-style temple in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital.

Ny Phanith, 24, stands before rehearsing for a lion dance performance ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations at a temple in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, January 21, 2022. REUTERS/Cindy Liu
  • He sought a master to teach him to dance seven years ago, and he joined the Bodhi Tree Troupe.
  • He eventually rose to the position of team leader.
  • The transportation company employee used to supplement his regular monthly salary of about $300 by doing lion and dragon dances at local events, earning about $20.
  • During the pandemic, this has all but dried up, with the number of performances dropping to around one per month instead of five.
Lion dancers perform ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations at Aeon Mall Sen Sok in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, January 30, 2022. REUTERS/Cindy Liu

What’s going on: According to the Cambodian Chinese Association, there are roughly eight troupes in Phnom Penh, but Gnuon is concerned that this number may decrease.

The backstory: Sino-Khmer people have long been a part of Cambodian culture. According to historical records, the first Chinese arrived in the area in the 13th century.

  • The neighbourhood was devastated during the Khmer Rouge era in the 1970s, when the authorities retaliated against well-educated urban merchants.
  • However, as China rapidly ramps up investment in Cambodia’s economy, ancestral links to China have brought riches to Sino-Khmers in recent years.

What Gnuon says: Gnuon intends to create some new forms to bring lion and dragon dancing to the forefront, such as increasing the number of dancers on elevated poles or using larger poles.

  • “I want the younger generation to hold on to this tradition and make it even more well-known in the future,” he said.
  • “We’ll keep all our current techniques and also create some new styles in order to make the dancing more well-known, or to be able to compete with other troupes,” he said.
Lion dancers prepare for performances ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations at a temple in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, January 26, 2022. REUTERS/Cindy Liu
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.




New Delhi, Sept 29- According to data updated on Thursday by the Union Health Ministry, 4,272 new instances of infections have been registered throughout...


J&K, Sept 29 – Two people were injured in two bombs that occurred within eight hours in the Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir...


Karnataka, Sept 28 – The Narcotics Wing of the Central Crime Branch (CCB) broke an inter-state narcotics conspiracy on Tuesday, arresting five people-four women...


New Delhi, Sept 28- India observed a modest increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country, reporting 3,615 instances on Wednesday. The...


New Delhi, Sept 28- Considering the decline in the number of theaters in India and to prevent its complete closure, the Ministry of Information...


New Delhi, Sept 28– The Popular Front of India (PFI) and any of its affiliates, allies, or fronts have been declared illegal associations by...

You May Also Like


The structure will be built for a Public Health Centre (PHC), which will be the sole government health facility near the crash site. The...


It appears that Twitter is full of like-minded people who have had similar ideas regarding marriage, particularly arranged marriage. And they’ve developed a hilarious...


Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella’s son Zain Nadella, died Monday morning.  The news: Zain was 26 years old and had been born...


According to a tweet from the UK Ministry of Defence, the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed the use of its TOS-1A weapon system in...