Khmer Arts Academy

Cambodian classical dance

The Khmer Arts Academy offers young members of the Greater Long Beach Cambodian community and other an opportunity to achieve a high level of excellence through year-round classical dance training.  Its free workshops serve approximately fifty apprentice dancers.  The curriculum includes the basic movements and traditional repertoire of classical dance as well as Artistic Director Sophilene Cheam Shapiro’s original dances created for Cambodia’s finest artsits and toured throughout the world.

The Khmer Arts Academy is also home to the Khmer Arts Ensemble, a renowned 29-member professional touring dance and music troupe.  It develops and performs the original choreography of Sophiline Cheam Shapiro as well as rare works from the classical canon.  The Ensemble has presented dances on major states throughout three continents.

The Khmer Arts Academy has participated in ACTA’s Living Cultures Grants Program in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2009, 2008, and 2006.  In 2013, 2012, 2009, and 2006, grants supported year-round classical dance training and performance programs for over 50 students aged 5-18.  In 2008, a grant supported an ongoing artist residency with dancer, choreographer, and teacher Charya Burt in an effort to offer apprentice dancers year-round, sustained contact with highly accomplished artists.

In 2004, support from ACTA’s Traditional Arts Development Program supported the mentorship of Khmer Arts Academy’s co-founder and artistic director Sophiline Cheam Shapiro to master pin peat musician Ho Chimm Chan.  Through a series of 15 trainings, Sophiline will train Ho in conducting lecture/demonstrations offered as part of local and regional outreach programs for school children.  The project gave Ho the skills he needs to share his tremendous knowledge and talent with students of all ages.

The following video features Khmer Arts Academy students performing at TEDxSoCal.  They are led by Khannia Ok, apprentice to master artist Prumsodun Ok:


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