The classical and folk dance and music of Cambodia are coming to the Lied Center stage.
"Dance, the Spirit of Cambodia," which features 40 dancers and musicians from the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The company will participate in a number of residency activities Friday and Saturday.
The dance traditions of Cambodia have survived the country's tumultuous history and served as a bridge between the natural and spiritual worlds from one era to the next. After a devastating civil war in the early 1970s and the brutal reign of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979 during which more than 1 million people died of starvation, disease, forced labor or execution, Cambodia's social, economic and cultural fabric was in shreds. Nearly 90 percent of its artists were killed.
Today, as Cambodia emerges from two decades of war, poverty and international isolation, its society is renewing its cultural traditions.
The Cambodian dancers and musicians are on a 12-city national tour, which will make stops at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Mass., New York City's Joyce Theater and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
As part of their residency in Lawrence, the dancers and musicians will give a lecture and demonstration for area high school students from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday in the Elizabeth Sherbon Dance Theatre in Robinson Center. From 12:30 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. that day, they will teach a Cambodian technique master class for KU dance students in the Robinson Center.
A preconcert lecture will be from 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Saturday in the Oldfather Warmup-Dance Studio at the Lied Center.