CARA was founded in 1998 to help initiate and provide support for community based activities which unite the Cambodian community to foster the Cambodian culture and work toward the progress of future generations.
The Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe is a gift of Ms. Savary Dean, Artistic Director, to the Cambodian community and to San Jose. Ms. Dean and the Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe are committed to preserving the traditions and culture of Cambodia found in the classical and folk dances of Cambodia. Ms. Dean wants to keep her culture alive in honor of her teachers who perished during the Cambodian Holocaust.
Our Dance Troupe performed dances for the evening of formal dinner with hundreds of guests at Clint Eastwood Club House on Carmel Golf course, top of the hill. The Freedom Fields USA (http://www.freedomfieldsusa.org) has about 12 members including Mrs. Dina Eastwood (wife of Clint E).
and Dance Instructors
Chamroeun Yean, Coordinator - She moved to
San Jose in early 1980. She now has a professional
career as a Knowledge Development Engineer. Raising
two beautiful children and overcoming many big
changes in her life are among her proudest accomplishments.
Despite the distance of time and space from her
homeland, her love for Cambodian people and culture
is rooted deeply in her heart. At the present,
she and her two children are intimately involved
in the Cambodian-American community in San Jose,
where she volunteers tirelessly in the Khmer Cultural
Savary Dean, Instructor- has donated her
time and talents as a Khmer dance instructor to
the Cambodian children of San Jose for the past
10 years. In her own words, "It is
very improtant to continue our Cambodian culture
and spirit to the next generation. It is my pleasure
to pass my Khmer dance knowledge to teach our
children." Mrs. Dean was trained
as a young girl at the University of Fine Arts
in Phnom Penh before the Khmer Rouge era. When
she was luckily returned to Phnom Penh after the
4 dreadful years she went back to the Fine Arts
university. A short time later she joined her
family in a journey to the U.S. in 1982. She is
residing with her husband and 2 wonderful children
in San Jose.
Raline Von-Buelow (Assistant Instructor) -
Raline was a student of the University of Fine
Arts and later changed her career to be a school
teacher. She moved on to work with the Australian
foundation children for two years. Raline joined
her husband to the US in December 2000.
She has joined the dance group
in 2001 as our dance assistance instructor helping
Mrs. Savary Dean. Raline is hoping to help preserve
the Cambodian culture so that the Cambodian children
growing in America will always be inspired by
our rich heritage.
Thavro Phim, Instructor - We were very fortunate
to have Mr. Thavro join us. He came from
the University of Fine Arts where he graduated
as a dance professor. Mr. Phim came to help our
San Jose children with his specialty as a dancer
of the "monkey" role. He taught here
a couple of years ago when he first arrived in
the Bay Area. Mr. Phim states, "I am
encouraged that the San Jose Cambodian community
is interested in learning some of the positive
parts of their culture and history, such as dance,
parts which have been buried in their minds by
the war and other recent troubles in their ancestral
homeland. I appreciate the chance to share the
knowledge and skills I have."
We also counted
on Mrs. Pok Mao, the former assistant dance instructor
who has helped the group for a few year now. Mrs. Pok's
duty is to assist new students and oversee their progress.
She generally helps Mrs. Dean with the dance practice
proccess when she is needed. More than that Mrs. Pok
gives transtortation to those students who need to be
picked up and dropped off. She also bring her five children
to participate in classes. Mrs. Pok is living in San
Jose with her husband and five children.
We thank Mrs. Dean, Mr. Phim, and
Mrs. Pok for their time and talents to pass along their
knowledge to our young generation. We also thank Mrs.
Yean for her willingness to volunteer time with the
group. Although she has no knowledge of dance, we always
can count on her. These are her words: "Helping
the Cambodian children find their roots through the
culture adds more than words can say to them while they
are growing in the western civilization. If I don't
help now, who will? If more of us help, then more of
the youngsters learn who we are as Khmer." Mrs.
Chamroeun Yean graduated as school teacher in Phnom
Penh right at the 1975 fallback, came to the USA in
late 1979, is living with her two children in San Jose.
We also want to expand our appreciation
to the San Jose Cambodian children that are currently
participating in the dance classes, and to the parents
that have encouraged and brought them. Without all of
you, there would be no classes. Please keep coming and
keep helping wahtever you can to make our local Cambodian
community better and bright.
This is a comic, improvised dance accompanied
by long drums which often precedes a ceremonial
Dance: (Prathom Sva Pol): A dance which demonstrates
movements of a certain kind of "monkey"
character in Cambodian dance-dramas. Watch closely
to see them picking fleas and scratching.
Prapey: A group of young children dance while
the lyrics speak of a holdiay celebration honoring
the glory of Cambodia. This is part of the classical
Dance: (Chuon Por): In this classical piece,
"The Blessing Dance" flower petals are
tossed gently from small silver or gold trays
as a way of blessing the audience and the event.
Crops Dance: (Pok Pal or Tonitine): This folk
dance represents the upland rice planting and
harvesting activities of ethnic minority residents
of Cambodia's mountainous northeast.
Dance: (Angres): The "Pestle Dance"
presents peasants celebrating their harvest on
a night lit by the full moon. The villagers use
a long pestle to pound the rice. Such pestles
serve as props in this dance