Nov Sreyleak’s daily routine flowed as smoothly as her acrobatic movements. She would study English in the morning, after which she would work part-time at Siem Reap’s Phare Cambodian Circus.
Afternoons were spent rehearsing her routine, before it was time to welcome 400 or so excited guests for Phare’s daily performances. On stage, Nov Sreyleak, speaking from her home province of Battambang, was a lead female performer in the act, performing contortions and acrobatic movements.
That came to grinding halt with the novel coronavirus pandemic. Since mid-March, the Cambodian government prohibited all public gatherings, as the virus tally increased steadily in the country. All kinds of public performances were prohibited and the lull in tourism meant artists and communities struggled to find an audience.
With the circus shut in mid-March, Nov Sreyleak lost her job, her only source of income and, more importantly, her need to perform.
“I am missing the stage,” said the 29-year-old circus performer. “The performances, the cheerful sounds and claps at the end of the show. The chit-chat and taking photos with the audiences.”
The Phare circus is popular world over for its ability to combine storytelling with dance, music, and acrobatic and gymnastic movements. The performances are popular with foreign tourists.
With her primary and part-time jobs lost, Nov Sreyleak is attempting to sell clothes online to make some money to support the family. After the Siem Reap circus shut down temporarily, she and her husband moved back to Battambang province…
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