Khmer Arts Ensemble of Cambodia debuts dance-music piece at Connecticut College

Published 09/23/2010 12:00 AM, By:
Updated 09/23/2010 02:02 AM
Connecticut College's onStage series begins Saturday with the debut of a piece by the Khmer Arts Ensemble of Cambodia.
The group of about 30 dancers and musicians will perform "The Lives of Giants," about a mistreated giant in Shiva's heavenly temple who wants a weapon against the ridicule of devilish angels. The story comes from an episode of the Reamker, the Cambodian version of the Ramayana.
A program note by choreographer Sophiline Cheam Shapiro says, "In 'The Lives of Giants,' I'm looking specifically at cycles of violence. I believe the relationship between the glorification of war and the physical abuse of a child is a close one. Violence begets violence. The abused become the abusers. Within Cambodian society, state-led terror and genocide of the recent past has fed contemporary epidemics of domestic violence and human trafficking. This is an unfortunate truth in many parts of the world, in wealthy nations as well as poor ones.
"Nevertheless, I believe compassion is an antidote. When we acknowledge our own and our enemies' humanity, we create room to step away from inhumane behavior."
"The Lives of Giants" wraps these ideas in a performance of movement and melody set in what Sophiline Cheam Shapiro calls a "mysterious and magical world" that reflects our own universe.
- Kristina Dorsey
"The Lives of Giants - Khmer Arts Ensemble,"

8 p.m. Saturday, Palmer Auditorium, Connecticut College, Mohegan Avenue, New London; $20-$28 ($18-$25 seniors, $10-$14 students); (860) 439-2787.

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