Pupils get a dance treat from the East

YEAR nine pupils from Abbey College were treated to a traditional dancing display by pupils from a school in the Cambodian capital, Pnom Penh. The Abbey students were able to watch the complex dances, which have taken the dancers more than three years to

YEAR nine pupils from Abbey College were treated to a traditional dancing display by pupils from a school in the Cambodian capital, Pnom Penh.

The Abbey students were able to watch the complex dances, which have taken the dancers more than three years to master.

There was also an opportunity to ask questions via the troupe's interpreter.

Mariette Cracknell, 13, said: "I was amazed at the intricate hand movements of the dancers. Their dancing was really elegant, totally different to anything I have seen before."


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The troupe, aged between 11 and 19, has been performing at venues all over the UK and was also scheduled to embark on a tour of France. They all come from the Cambodian Arts Ministry School and Orphanage which houses 50 children from disadvantaged backgrounds, in a country where most children get no formal education and more than 50 per cent of the population is under the age of 18.

The tour has been funded and organised by the UK charity, South-East Asian Outreach (SAO) Cambodia, which for 30 years has provided aid and development work in the region.

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SAO Cambodia's executive director, Geoff Collett said: "We were delighted that the dancers were able to perform to such an appreciative audience. This tour has allowed us to raise awareness of the situation facing many young people in Cambodia today as well as explaining the need for donations in order to keep this much needed work going. We are hoping to build a new school but there is no state funding for such a project."

The dancers also did an evening performance at Hinchingbrooke Performing Arts Centre and visited Thongsley Fields School in Huntingdon.

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