BRIEF HISTORY OF NCA
Since October 2008, New Cambodian Artists (NCA) has been dedicated to developing a culture of contemporary dance throughout Cambodia and is an initiative from Dutch theatre director Bob Ruijzendaal.
After creating various shows with Khmer performers in Phnom Penh, Bob was invited to Siem Reap by the Live Media group to develop a dance company for a planned cultural venue called the Bambu Theatre.
In October 2012 the first 3 dancers, graduates from the Siem Reap School of Arts, joined, resulting in a first presentation in Gallery 1961, called Bambu Stretch. The theatre project never materialized except for a temporary stage, during the month of January 2015 in the garden of the Hotel Victoria. New Cambodian Artists however had managed to entice audiences and soon had an impressive list of performances in Siem Reap and around Cambodia.
In the year 2014 New Cambodian Artists augmented to 4 principle dancers and a company manager, University Student, Khon Sreyneang. Since February 2015 New Cambodian Artists is registered with the Ministry of Fine Arts and Culture as Cambodia’s first all female dance company.
New Cambodian Artists has become a strong, young, and empowered all female contemporary dance company that is unique for Cambodia.
Bob Ruijzendaal continues to work with the New Cambodian Artists as Artistic Director.
After performances in Siem Reap’s high-end hotels and for corporate clients, the New Cambodian Artists frequently hear that “it is a delight to see that Cambodia is more than Apsara dancing and that the performance is the first time they [mostly from foreign audiences] have seen women this strong on stage in the region. After two sold out Phnom Penh performances of New Cambodian Artists’ piece “Sronoh” (translated as “Lament”), there was a similar reaction, however, this time it was coming from a young Cambodian audience.
Many expressed their enthusiasm about seeing such young, confident women performing on stage such strong, contemporary material about Cambodia’s dark period, the Khmer Rouge.
One young man who came back to the second performance with his friends commented, “I wanted my friends to see these women, I never thought Cambodian women could do this.”
New Cambodian Artists is a cultural organisation registered with the Cambodian Ministry of Fine Arts and Culture. A dance troupe producing work with the intent to foster growth and understanding of contemporary Khmer expression.