PM marks 19th anniversary of Royal Ballet’s recognition by UNESCO

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A Royal Ballet performance at the Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap province in 2018. Hong Menea

Prime Minister Hun Sen on November 7 commemorated the 19th anniversary of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia being recognised by UNESCO.

Renowned for its graceful hand gestures and intricate costumes, this ancient royal dance was inscribed on the UNESCO world heritage list on November 7 in Istanbul, Turkey.

“Let’s celebrate the 19th anniversary of the Royal Ballet being placed on UNESCO's list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which took place on November 7, 2003,” he said in a social media post.

Historically, the Cambodian Royal Ballet exclusively performed for sacred rituals and only in recent decades has it opened its performances to the general public.

Also known as Khmer Classical Dance, the Royal Ballet has been "closely associated with the Khmer court for over one thousand years".

"Performances would traditionally accompany royal ceremonies and observances such as coronations, marriages, funerals or Khmer holidays. This art form, which narrowly escaped annihilation in the 1970s, is cherished by many Cambodians,” reads UNESCO’s official description of the ballet.