khmer arts academy

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Profile of Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, Cambodian Classical Dancer

“Awarded in 2009 with a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts, SOPHILINE CHEAM SHAPIRO is Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Khmer Arts Academy (Long Beach, CA/Phnom Penh, Cambodia). She is a choreographer, dancer, vocalist and educator whose original works have infused the venerable Cambodian classical form with new ideas and energy. She has set choreography on Cambodia’s finest performing artists, and teaches, lectures and tours internationally, from the Venice Biennale to New York’s Joyce Theater to the Hong Kong Arts Festival. Sophiline has worked with artists including John Zorn, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and Chinary Ung, and was commissioned by director Peter Sellars to premiere her original work Pamina Devi at Vienna’s New Crowned Hope Festival in 2006. As one of the first generation to graduate from Phnom Penh’s Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) after the fall of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime, she became a member of RUFA’s faculty until she immigrated to Southern California in 1991 where she studied dance ethnology at UCLA and established Khmer Arts Academy in Long Beach, expanding her organization to Phnom Penh in 2006.” [source]