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Programme Details
The Continuum: Beyond The Killing Fields (2002)

Key Words

Asian Theatre, Autobiography, Cambodia, Classical Court Dance, Collaboration, Contemporary Dance, Contemporary Music, Dance Archives, Dance History, Dance Research, Dance Studies, Deconstructing the Exotic, Documentary Theatre, Electronic Music, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, History, Japan, Khmer Arts and Culture, Khmer Rouge, Killing Fields, Ogre Mask Dance, Oral History Archives, Pol Pot, Ramayana, Ritual, Robam Preah Reach Trop, Sampeah Kru, Sbek Thom, Shadow Puppetry, Singapore, Southeast Asia Studies, Survivors, Tenth Dancer, Traditional Performing Arts, Transdisciplinary Performance, Translation, War Crimes, Women Dancing Male Roles, Year Zero,


Based on Pol Pot’s massacre of the royal court dancers of Cambodia, this documentary performance has played in USA, Berlin, Singapore, Rotterdam, Vienna, Phnom Penh, London, Stockholm, Oslo, Goteborg, Rome, Lyon, Istanbul, Melbourne, Belo Horizonte, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Shizuoka.

The Continuum: Beyond The Killing Fields tells the real life story of seventy-five year old Em Theay, master dancer of royal classical dance in Cambodia. This is a unique form of dance which has women cross-dressing in male roles. Em Theay has survived the scourge of the Khmer Rouge to live on, teaching her skills to the national troupe after the trauma.

This story of dance passed through generations of mothers and daughters becomes all the more horrific when one learns that nine out of ten royal dancers, musicians, actors, playwrights, poets, artists were killed by Pol Pot in his fanatical attempt to set his country back to year zero. Pol Pot’s vision was to realise a peasant nation of self-reliant agricultural work brigades modelled on Mao’s China. Reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s genocide of Jews; technicians, teachers, monks or doctors were executed. Those who spoke French, English or who had studied abroad, were likewise liquidated. Simply having fair skin or wearing glasses was cause of execution.

Em Theay, often known as the tenth dancer – the one who survived, tells her story. Persecuted for being an artist, she never falters, a conscience, a memory of the gash which tore Cambodia apart after 25 years while Cambodia still waits for justice from its war crimes trials.

Presented as part of In-Transit 2002, Haus der Kulturen der Welt.


Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany

31 May – 2 June 2002

Concept, Director & Writer: Collaborators & Performers: Video Documentary: Composer: Light Design: Producer:
Tay Tong.
Production Managers:
Fred Frumberg, Valerie Oliveiro.
Stage Manager:
Valerie Oliveiro.
Technical Management:
Lennie Lee.
Yuen Chee Wai
, Fanny Landrieu-Charignon, Valerie Oliveiro.

Produced or Managed By:>

Printed Matter

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The Continuum: Beyond The Killing Fields (2002)

Genre:> Asian Theatre
Cambodian Classical Court Dance
Contemporary Dance
Documentary Theatre
Traditional Performing Arts
Transdisciplinary Performance

Year:> 2020

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