Interdisciplinary artist Prumsodun Ok was introduced to classical Cambodian dance through home videos played in his family’s living room in Long Beach, California when he was just four years old. However, it wasn’t until he was 16 that he began his formal training in the ancient dance of the apsaras at the Khmer Arts Academy. As the first male student of Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, one of the art’s leading choreographers, he has never been afraid of crossing the boundaries of genre, gender, or geography in his career. “I was getting older, hadn’t seen the world as much as I wanted and felt many limitations as to how far I could push my American students,” he said. “I realized that as a dancer, my body had a time limit and that this was my time to share myself with the world and to learn from it.”
After packing his bags and staging groundbreaking performances in Greece, Mexico, and major cities across the United States, including a residence at the acclaimed Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City, he returned to his ancestral home where he founded Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA, Cambodia’s first gay dance company. By restaging traditional dances in original works with roles traditionally performed by women, he is shaping the next generation of Khmer dancers, one movement, one gesture, at a time. See the artist and his students in motion at the new Counter Space Theater at Java Creative Café in Phnom Penh’s up-and-coming Tuol Tompung neighborhood this summer, then hop in a tuk-tuk and explore the places that inspire him most in the city he now calls home.
- Long Beach, California
- Interdisciplinary Artist and Founder of Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA
- Phnom Penh, Cambodia