Phare, the Cambodian Circus in Siem Reap, is more than a conventional acrobatic circus; rather, Phare artists create and perform stories based on their own life experiences. Drawing from recent history, folklore, and modern society, the artists blend drama, dance, live music, and circus arts to share a part of their lives with their audiences.
Phare Circus artists are students and graduates from Phare Ponleu Selpak’s vocational training center in Battambang. Phare Ponleu Selpak–roughly translated as “The Brightness of the Arts”— is a non-profit art school that offers support to children, youth, and their surrounding communities through artistic, educational, social, and community outreach and engagement programs. Their performing, visual and applied arts leisure classes and vocational training programs aid children and young adults in developing their own creativity, communication, and concentration skills. The Phare Ponleu Selpak association was formed in 1994 by nine young men coming home from a refugee camp after the Khmer Rouge regime. These young men were greatly helped through that hard time by an art teacher using drawing classes as a form of therapy. They wanted to share this new skill with the poor, sociall...
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