These kids are Cambodia's best bet to keep an ancient dance from being forgotten after it was nearly wiped out during Cambodia's period under the Khmer Rouge. It's a classic story in South East Asia. A prince rescues his wife from a demon with the help of an army of monkeys.
was listed by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of urgent safe guarding along with Thailand's version of the dance.
>> My ancestors have preserved it from their ancestors and now I must work hard to train students so that the dance doesn't become extinct.>>
is only one of five dance master alive today after the Khmer Rouge banned the study of the dance and at least 1.7 billion people including artists, dancers, and writers died in the infamous killing fields genocide in the late 1970s.
>> During the Khmer Rouge, I was young and I didn't teach people to dance, hence
Now the kids train six hours a day, twice a week.>> I first learned to bend my hands and legs, then I learned the giants dance with a stick.>> The
But Rithi and his student's hard work is paying off as they head to other cities in the country to perform. And with two new troupes forming and the dance being taught at a local university, the art form may live to see another day.