As a potent living legacy of Cambodia’s rich and centuries-old history, and with its ties to the present day Kingdom of Cambodia’s Ministry of Fine Arts and the Royal University of Fine Arts, the Cambodian Royal Ballet performing today can perhaps best be described as the country’s national dance troupe. The first tour of Cambodian classical dance to the United States was an extensive three month tour of 45 artists in 1971 which included a performance that was part of the inauguration of the Kennedy Center in DC with President Richard Nixon in attendance. The Republic of Cambodia, as it was known at the time, would not allow any members of the Royal family to join the tour; HRH Princess Buppha Devi and the Queen Mother only offered suggestions in forming the troupe.

The first tour of Cambodian classical dance to travel the US after the fall of the Khmer Rouge was in 1990. More than 30 dancers and musicians performed at the Los Angeles Festival, at the Joyce Theater in New York, and in other US cities. Master dancers and teachers who had survived the Khmer Rouge period and its aftermath together with a new generation of dancers they mentored, reconstructed and performed classical dance repertory on the international stage for the first time in more than two decades.

The Royal Ballet of Cambodia is supported by Anne H. Bass.