Nadtasin Lao Lanxang performing the royal dance, “Lao Paen.” Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

Choummaly Keodara

Traditional Lao dance and folk songs

Traditional Lao dance and folk songs

Traditional Lao dancing and folk songs are very important and unique to the Lao culture. The artform and performances help bring our Lao community together.” – Choummaly Keodara

Choummaly Keodara (center, in pink) with her childhood dance teacher and group, preparing to perform at the Long Beach Convention Center. Photo: Rattana Keodara.

Choummaly Keodara began dancing in the Lao tradition at the age of five. When she was eleven, she danced with Ajarn [Professor] Chaiphet: one of the last royal dancers from the palace of King Sisavang Vatthana, the last king of Laos. Chaiphet noticed Keodara’s talent and passion and selected her as her top dance apprentice, teaching Keodara unique dance routines and how to sing live to accompany other dancers. Keodara trained and performed with Chaiphet until she was eighteen. She promised her mentor that she would share their tradition with the next generation of Lao Americans, so that their culture would not be lost or forgotten. While attending Fresno City College, Keodara was Vice President of the Lao Students Association (LSA) and taught Lao traditional dances for free. Now, she teaches classic and traditional Lao dances to fourteen students (the group Nadtasin Lao Lanxang), who perform and share their beautiful culture throughout California. Keodara has also recorded three albums of Lao folk songs.

Nadtasin Lao Lanxang pose at the end of a Kanali bird dance. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

Living Cultures Grant

2023

Lao Culture Dance

Keodara will help five of her top students hone their skills at an advanced level, teaching them dances such as the beloved Kinnaly; Dork Champa (a Lao national dance); Oy phon pee Mai (a New Year blessing dance); Lum Thungvieh, Lum Salavon, Lum Phouthai, etc.; and styles unique to each part of Laos ( North, Central and South). Funding from ACTA’s Living Culture’s Grant Program will support her in taking her students to events and festivals to perform; in purchasing their dance outfits and accessories; and in supplying their practices with food, water and snacks.

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Contact

Choummaly Keodara | Choumkeo777@gmail.com | (559) 908-8537 | Instagram: Nadtasin Lao Lanxang

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