Cheychanrith has studied traditional and folk dance with Master Ieng Sithul in Phnom Penh’s artists community, the White Building. He is now pursuing his studies in choreography at the Royal University of Fine Arts, and he performs weekly as a professional dancer and singer, as part of the Komar Bassac dance troupe. To see him and his troupe, look for NGO Cambodian Living Arts’ Plae Pakaa program of performances in Phnom Penh.
INTERVIEW – october 2014
How did you become involved with the arts?
I have loved art since I was young. My mother is also an artist and I started learning with Master Ieng Sithul’s troupe in 2002, specializing in classical and folk dance and music. I started joining art classes because I enjoyed performing and wanted to entertain myself and my friends. I think performing makes me happy and people smile. I love that and want to be a professional artist! In 2006, our troupe became part of Cambodian Living Arts’ program and I saw that my dream of being an artist was possible.
Why are arts important ?
I believe that all artists are happy to be on stage so that they can show what they have learned to the people. In the beginning I thought art was only for entertainment, but when I joined Cambodian Living Arts I met many people from the outside world; especially when I flew to perform for the first times in London and Japan. I realized the significance of art as a part of our soul and identity. Arts can help people from different countries, different cultures, and different perspectives be united.
What are your plans in the future in the arts?
I have many artistic dreams for the future, but my biggest dream is that I want to open my own art school and start my own troupe! It sounds impossible for me today, but I believe it will happen in the future if I work hard today and keep the hope alive. Now, I’m studying at the Royal University of Fine Arts majoring in choreography. After graduation, I want to continue my studies abroad if I am given the chance. If I want to help others, I have to have great strength and skills.
Do you have a message to convey?
I do believe everything begins with love. If you have love for something, you will put your every effort into it, whether you are an artist or not. Teach your heart to love and support art as much as you can! We need to study and enjoy other cultures, but we can’t forget we’re Khmer and therefore have an obligation to protect and preserve our culture.